Iran-Iraq border earthquake live updates: Over 140 killed, 800 injured; landslides hinder rescue efforts
A 7.3 magnitude earthquake rocked the mountainous Iran-Iraq border, killing at least 130 people, injuring hundreds more and triggering landslides that were hindering the rescue effort, officials said.
Footage posted on Twitter showed people fleeing a building in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq, as windows shattered at the moment the quake struck late on Sunday, while images from the nearby town of Darbandikhan showed major walls and concrete structures had collapsed.
At least 129 people were killed in Iran’s Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border, the provincial deputy governor told state television. “We are in the process of setting up three emergency relief camps,” said Mojtaba Nikkerdar, the deputy governor of Iran’s Kermanshah province.
The quake hit 30 km southwest of Halabja in Iraq’s Kurdistan at around 9.20 pm, when many people would have been at home, the US Geological Survey said. Iran’s emergency services chief Pir Hossein Koolivand said it was “difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off… there have been landslides”.
Iran-Iraq earthquake live updates:
9.15 am: Meanwhile, news agency ILNA reported that at least 14 provinces in Iran were affected by the earthquake. Schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces will be closed today after the region experienced strong tremors on Sunday.
9.00 am: The death toll has risen above 140, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency. The number of injured in last night’s earthquake has also gone up to 860 people. Rescue workers have worked through the night and they will step up operations in the day, it reported.
The worst-hit towns in Iran were Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah and Azgaleh, about 40 km northwest, IRNA said. It added that 30 Red Cross teams had been sent to the quake zone, parts of which had experienced power cuts. In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150. Residents ran out on to the streets and some damage to property was reported, an AFP reporter said.
“Four people were killed by the earthquake” in Darbandikhan, the town’s mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan said. A child and an elderly person were killed in Kalar and 105 people injured. The quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 25 km, was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and for longer in other provinces of Iraq.
On the Iranian side of the border, the tremor shook several cities in the west of the country, including Tabriz. It was also felt in southeastern Turkey, “from Malatya to Van”, an AFP correspondent said. In the town of Diyarbakir, residents were reported to have fled their homes.
The quake struck along a 1,500 km fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, a belt extending through western Iran and into northeastern Iraq. The area sees frequent seismic activity. A catastrophic quake that struck Bam, in Iran in 2003 killed at least 31,000 people and flattened the city. Since then, Iran has experienced at least two major quake disasters, one in 2005 that killed more than 600 and another in 2012 that left some 300 dead. More recently, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake near Iran’s border with Turkmenistan in May killed two people, injured hundreds and caused widespread damage.