A magnitude 7.3 earthquake has struck the border region of Iraq and Iran. Officials have confirmed the deaths of more than 130 people but emergency teams believe the death toll could rise in the next few hours.
Officials have told state media that at least 129 people have lost their lives in the Kermanshah Province. Officials have also reported the deaths of six people in Iraq.
The strong earthquake left damages across the northern border region between the two countries. Pictures after the earthquake show damages to many of the buildings in the area. The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Organization, Morteza Salim, told Iran news network IRINN that damage had been reported in at least eight villages. He added that some other villages had seen their power and telecommunications interrupted.
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck near the northern border region with Iran. The emergency services chief in Iran told the IRINN news network that many of the victims were in a town ten miles away from the border. He said the rescue efforts had been slowed down by landslides.
Fars News reported that at least 1,000 people were injured by the earthquake, which triggered landslides in some areas. Reports say some buildings have collapsed or have suffered heavy damage. Residents in some areas say they felt the earthquake but that it had left no damages to their homes or nearby buildings.
The strong earthquake, which struck at around 9:20 p.m., sparked panic among the population in the area. Pictures taken after the earthquake show people sitting in the middle of the streets and far from buildings. Iraqi State TV urged the population to stay away from buildings and elevators.
The earthquake was felt for around 20 seconds in Baghdad and even longer in other areas. An AFP correspondent said that the earthquake had also been felt in southeastern Turkey.
Emergency teams have been sent to the most affected areas but Iran’s emergency services chief has revealed that rescue efforts have been slowed down by the landslides. One official told local media that 14 provinces in Iran had been affected. Officials have announced that schools will be closed in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces on Monday.
Just minutes ago, Iran’s state-run news agency reported that over 140 people had been killed and 860 others had been injured.