Iran Earthquake: Death Toll Passes 470 after 3 Days

Posted November 16, 2017

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Iran is crisscrossed by major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 that reduced the historic southeastern city of Bam to dust and killed some 31,000 people.

Authorities say more than 400 people have been killed and more than 7,000 injured after a magnitude 7.3 quake rocked the border between Iraq and Iran.

The Iranian army, the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia forces were dispatched to affected areas on Sunday night.

Reports said more than 12,000 tents were distributed in the area, though more than 30,000 houses were affected by the quake - 15,500 of them completely destroyed.

Iranian officials called off rescue operations earlier in the day on the grounds that there was little chance of finding more survivors from the quake, which killed at least 530 people and injured thousands of others.

Sunday night's magnitude 7.3 quake struck about 31 kilometres outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the US Geological Survey.

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It was also felt in southeastern Turkey, an AFP correspondent said.

The quake, centered in Penjwin in Iraq's Sulaimaniyah province in the Kurdistan region, killed at least six people in Iraq and injured more than 68 others.

However, the temblor caused visible damage to the dam at Darbandikhan, which holds back the Diyala River. There is not thought to be any immediate danger from the damage, although it is unclear whether power production might be affected.

Rescuers today dug through debris from the collapsed buildings. Most of the injuries were minor with fewer than 1,000 still hospitalized, Iran's crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.

'We hope the number of dead and injured won't rise too much, but it will rise'.

Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, said she fled empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed. More than 100 aftershocks followed.

At least three emergency relief camps have been set up after the only hospital in the town was badly damaged.

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The night before, Hasani said, two doctors, a husband and wife, arrived from northern Iran to volunteer their help and administered emergency medical care to a woman who had been rescued from beneath a house.

Nevertheless, dozens of rescue teams are searching for survivors in larger towns and Red Cross teams are on their way.

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.

Some of the houses which collapsed in an natural disaster that killed at least 530 people and injured thousands of others were built under an affordable housing scheme initiated in 2011 by Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Turkish Red Crescent has sent assistance including 33 aid trucks, 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and food to Sulaymaniyah, and the military has dispatched a cargo plane of aid. In northern Iraq's Kurdish districts, seven were killed and 325 wounded.

Seismologist Abdul-Karim Abdullah Taqi, who runs the natural disaster monitoring group at Iraq's Meteorological Department, said the main reason for the lower casualty figure in Iraq was the angle and direction of the fault line in this particular quake, as well as the nature of the Iraqi geological formations that could better absorb the shocks.

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