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Iran – Iraq Earthquake death rate 400 and climbing

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A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake has hit the border region between Iran and Iraq, killing about 400 people, almost all of them in Iran.

This is a report by Iranian Press TV: The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at around 09:18 pm local time on Sunday (0010 GMT on Monday), was 32 kilometers south of the Iraqi city of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan, and just across the border from Iran, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

But the highest casualties occurred in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, in Iran’s Kermanshah Province.

According to official tallies, 395 Iranians were confirmed dead as of Monday afternoon. Over 6,650 others were also injured.

, Iran – Iraq Earthquake death rate 400 and climbing, eTurboNews | eTN
Damage is seen in the Iranian town of Qasr-e Shirin, in Kermanshah Province, after a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake, on November 12, 2017.

The National Disaster Management Organization of Iran said earlier that power cuts had been reported in Kermanshah Province. A number of villages in western Iran have also seen destruction of varying degrees.

Leader orders swift rescue operations

Soon after the quake occurred, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a message calling on all Iranian officials and institutions to “rush to the aid of those affected in these early hours [after the incident].”

The Leader said the country’s entire range of capabilities had to be used swiftly to prevent a further rise in the death toll.

Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iran’s Armed Forces to help with removing the rubble and transferring the injured to medical centers.

, Iran – Iraq Earthquake death rate 400 and climbing, eTurboNews | eTN
An Iranian man stands on the street with his two sons in the city of Sanandaj, in the Iranian province of Kermanshah, after a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake, on November 12, 2017.

Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on the phone with Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli on Sunday night, who briefed the president on the latest updates. President Rouhani then issued the necessary directives to facilitate and accelerate rescue operations.

Three days of mourning have been announced in Kermanshah.

The earthquake was felt in cities in several other Iranian provinces, including as far away as in the capital, Tehran.

, Iran – Iraq Earthquake death rate 400 and climbing, eTurboNews | eTN
People evacuate their houses in the western Iranian province of Sanandaj following a strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake, on November 12, 2017.

The quake also shook the Iranian provinces of Kordestan, Ilam, Khuzestan, Hamedan, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Lorestan, Qazvin, Zanjan, and Qom.

Tremors were felt in other regional countries, including Turkey, Kuwait, Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain.

But the casualties and damage were limited to Iran and Iraq.

Government, military officials on ground zero

President Rouhani is scheduled to travel to Kermanshah Province to oversee the rescue work on Tuesday.

Rahmani-Fazli, the interior minister and Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi have already flown to Kermanshah to personally supervise the rescue operations.

Commander of Iran’s Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi has also arrived in Sarpol-e Zahab, one of the worst-affected areas, to oversee Army rescue operations in the region.

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, has also traveled there.

So has Iran’s Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari.

Rescue work

First responders have been using sniffer dogs to look for potential survivors under the rubble.

Hospitals in Tehran have been put on alert to treat those of the wounded who are transferred to the capital. At least 43 ambulances, four ambulance buses, and 130 emergency technicians have been stationed in the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran for a quick transfer of the victims to hospitals.

Over 100 medics have also been dispatched to the affected areas. The Iranian Air Force, too, has deployed helicopters to accelerate the transfer of the wounded.

Iranians have been flocking to the branches of the Blood Transfusion Organization to donate blood.

Foreign condolences

Meanwhile, foreign dignitaries have been offering condolences to and sympathies with the Iranian government and people over the earthquake.

Among them are German Ambassador to Iran Michael Klor-Berchtold, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, and the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Meanwhile, the president of the UN General Assembly also condoled with Iranian people over the deadly quake in western Iranian provinces.

In a post on his official Twitter account, Miroslav Lajčák expressed his concern about the rising death toll from the earthquake, which hit the border area between Iran and Iraq on Sunday, noting that the General Assembly stood with governments of both countries and quake survivors.

In Iraq

Reports said 11 people had been killed in Iraq. Some 130 Iraqis were also injured.

, Iran – Iraq Earthquake death rate 400 and climbing, eTurboNews | eTN
An earthquake victim is brought to the hospital in Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan, on November 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

In Iraq, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan, 75 kilometers east of the city of Sulaymaniyah, in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

According to Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed, over 30 people were wounded in the town. “The situation there is very critical,” he said.

, Iran – Iraq Earthquake death rate 400 and climbing, eTurboNews | eTN
Iranian medics evacuate a victim after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, in Kermanshah Province, November 13, 2017.

About the author


Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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