Tehran, November 14: The death toll in the powerful earthquake that stuck in the border of Iran and Iraq has risen to 530 on Tuesday, media reports said adding that over 8,000 people have been injured. Nearly all the casualties occurred in an area rebuilt after their ruinous 1980s war.
The magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Sunday at 9:48 PM. The quake was centered about 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the US Geological Survey, and struck 14.4 miles (23.2 kilometers) below the surface, a somewhat shallow depth that can cause broader damage.
Iran time, just as people were going to bed. The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries.
Residents fled without time to grab their possessions as apartment complexes collapsed into rubble. Outside walls of some buildings were sheared off, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted.
Residents dug frantically through wrecked buildings for survivors as they wailed. Firefighters from Tehran joined other rescuers in the desperate search, using dogs to inspect the rubble.
The hospital in Sarpol-e-Zahab was heavily damaged, and the army set up field hospitals, although many of the injured were moved to other cities, including Tehran.
The quake also damaged an army garrison and buildings in the border city and killed an unspecified number of soldiers, according to reports.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei immediately dispatched all government and military forces to aid those affected.
Many of the heavily damaged complexes in Sarpol-e-Zahab were part of construction projects under former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The newly homeless slept outside in cold, huddled around makeshift fires for warmth, wrapped in blankets as were the dead.
The quake caused Dubai’s skyscrapers to sway and could be felt 1,060 kilometers (660 miles) away on the Mediterranean coast.
With inputs from PTI