Toll in Iran-Iraq natural disaster rises to 530

Posted November 15, 2017

Rescue operations have ended in areas of Iran hit by a powerful weekend quake that killed at least 530 people and injured thousands, state television reported on Tuesday, as many survivors, in need of food and water, battled the cold.

EARTHQUAKES go, it was far from the world's strongest, with a magnitude of 7.3.

Rouhani visited the city of Kermanshah and promised the government would move swiftly to help those left homeless by the disaster.

Iranian state TV said thousands of survivors had spent another night in makeshift camps or in the open.

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.

An Iranian-born Kurdish weightlifter on Tuesday said he will auction his Olympic gold medal to raise money for victims of Sunday night's devastating natural disaster that hit the border areas between the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat). There is not thought to be any immediate danger from the damage, although it is unclear whether power production might be affected. In General, we are talking about a sparsely populated mountainous region.

Around 12,000 Iranian homes were destroyed and another 15,000 damaged in the quake, according to official estimates.

The quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 23 kilometres, was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and for longer in other provinces of Iraq, AFP journalists said.

State television showed tents, blankets and food being distributed in areas struck by the temblor.

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

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Ahoora Niazi, who lives in Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province, filmed scenes of ruin and posted the videos on the social media. More than 100 aftershocks followed the quake.

The quake badly damaged the Sarpol-e-Zahab hospital, forcing the army to set up field clinics.

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".

Rescue workers with sniffer dogs combed the ruins for survivors after at least 280 people were killed in the town of some 85,000 people.

The most extensive damage in Iraq occurred in the town of Darbandikhan in the country's Kurdish region. In the nearby Kurdish town of Eslamabad, a hospital only recently inaugurated by the government collapsed, killing several people there, lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said.

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water".

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei sent a message for all citizens to "rush to the aid of those affected in these early hours after the incident".

Kermanshah, an nearly entirely Kurdish province nestled in the Zagros Mountains that run along the border with Iraq, suffered all of Iran's fatalities from the temblor Sunday night that shook 14 of the country's 31 provinces.

More than 316 people were killed in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab alone, about 15km from the Iraqi border.