Magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Iran-Iraq border, more than 400 dead

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WORLD (Iran) : A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck near the border between Iran and Iraq on Sunday night killing 407 and injuring thousands. Skynews reported that the quake, felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast, triggered landslides, making it hard for rescuers to reach some areas.┬áThe earthquake was centered about 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja. It was 15 miles deep – a shallow depth that can cause broader damage – and was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, as well as in Turkey, Kuwait and Israel. More than 100 aftershocks followed the quake.

According to Skynews, the strong earthquake also triggered landslides in the mountainous region along the Iran-Iraq border and destroyed buildings, shattering windows and sending people running for safety. TV reports indicate that more than half of the Iranian casualties are from the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, and the district of Ezgeleh, which have a combined population of 30,000. Residents of Sarpol-e-Zahab described fleeing empty-handed as their homes collapsed, and said the power and water supply in the town was out. More than 100 aftershocks followed the quake.

At least three emergency relief camps have been set up after the only hospital in the town was badly damaged. Head of emergency medical services Pirhossein Koulivand said it was “difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off – there have been landslides”. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, offered his condolences and urged rescuers and government agencies to do all they can to help those affected by the quake.