Iran-Iraq earthquake: Deadly tremor hits border region

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Reuters/Tasnim News Agency

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Most of the deaths were reported in Iran’s Kermanshah province

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake has shaken the northern border region between Iran and Iraq, killing at least 348 people and injuring thousands more.

One Iranian aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter after the quake, one of the largest this year.

The majority of those who died were in Iran’s western Kermanshah province. Nearly 4,000 were said to be injured.

Seven people died in Iraq, where people fled into the streets in the capital, Baghdad.

“I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” a Baghdad mother-of-three, Majida Ameer, told Reuters news agency.

“I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming: ‘Earthquake!'”

In the latest updates from Iran:

  • State news agency Irna quoted an emergency official as saying 3,950 people were injured in Iran alone
  • Other agencies said the number of injured could in fact be higher than 5,300
  • Most of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15km (10 miles) from the border, emergency services chief Pir Hossein Koolivand said
  • The town’s main hospital was severely damaged, leaving it struggling to treat hundreds of wounded, state TV reported
  • A woman and her baby were pulled alive from rubble in the town, Iranian media said.

Many homes in the predominantly Kurdish mountainous area are made of mud bricks. As a result, they are at risk of collapse during a significant earthquake like the one that struck on Sunday.

Rescue teams were being hampered by landslides, Mr Koolivand said.

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Media captionA Kurdish TV channel was live on air during the earthquake

About 1.8 million people live within 100km (60 miles) of the epicentre, the UN estimates.

On the Iraqi side, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan in the Kurdistan Region.

“The situation there is very critical,” Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed told Reuters.

The Iraqi ministry…

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