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Rescuers Search Debris After Iran-Iraq Quake Killing 430
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Default Rescuers Search Debris After Iran-Iraq Quake Killing 430






Powerful Earthquake On Iran-Iraq Border Kills Over 330



Relatives weep over the body of an earthquake victim, in Sarpol-e-Zahab, western Iran, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.
(Farzad Menati/Tasnim News Agency via AP)

By NASSER KARIMI and AMIR VAHDAT - 31 minutes ago

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the Iraq-Iran border region killed over 330 people in both countries, sent people fleeing their homes into the night and was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast, authorities reported on Monday.


Iran’s western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the temblor, with Iran’s state-run news agency reporting the quake killed 328 people in the country. State television said some 3,950 were injured. The area is a rural, mountainous region where residents rely mainly on farming to make a living.

In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535 there, all in the country’s northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry.

The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles), a shallow depth that can have broader damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes on their own are capable of widespread, heavy damage.

Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes into the night. More than 100 aftershocks followed.


Iran’s state-run news agency says at least 328 people are known dead in Iran, after a powerful earthquake on
Iran-Iraq border. At least seven are known dead in Iraq. The magnitude 7.3 quake
was centered outside Halabja, in eastern Iraq. (Nov. 13)

The quake’s worst damage appeared to be in the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, said she could only flee empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed.

“Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed,” Fard said. “I have no access to my belongings.”

Reza Mohammadi, 51, said he and his family ran out into the alley following the first shock he felt.

“I tried to get back to pick some stuff but it totally collapsed in the second wave,” Mohammadi said.

Those in Sarpol-e-Zahab also said the power and water were out in the town as telephone and cellphone lines were spotty.


Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported.

The semi-official ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake.

Officials announced that schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces would be closed on Monday because of the temblor.

In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a directive for the country’s civil defense teams and “related institutions” to respond to the natural disaster. Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, gave the casualty figures for Iraq.

The quake could be felt across Iraq, shaking buildings and homes from Irbil to Baghdad, where people fled into the streets of the capital.

The Iraqi city of Halabja, closest to the epicenter, is notorious for the 1988 chemical attack in which Saddam Hussein’s regime killed some 5,000 people with mustard gas — the deadliest chemical weapons attack ever against civilians.

Iraqi seismologist Abdul-Karim Abdullah Taqi, who runs the earthquake monitoring group at the state-run Meteorological Department, said the main reason for the lower casualty figure in Iraq was the angle and the 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.


Turkey dispatched emergency aid to northern Iraq as officials expressed their “deep sadness” at the tragedy. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country took immediate action to provide medical and food aid to northern Iraq.

Kerem Kinik, Turkish Red Crescent’s vice president, told The Associated Press from Habur border crossing that 33 aid trucks were en route to Iraq’s city of Sulaimaniyah, carrying 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets as well as food.

A Turkish military cargo plane arrived in Iraq as the official Anadolu news agency reported multiple dispatches by Turkey’s disaster agency. Ankara also said it would help Iran if Tehran requests assistance.

Relations between Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region and Turkey were strained following the Iraqi Kurds’ controversial September independence referendum.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s government also extended its deepest condolences for the loss of life and injuries suffered by “our Iranian and Iraqi brethren.”

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Pakistanis’ “thoughts and prayers are with the Iranian and Iraqi brothers who lost their lives in this tragic calamity and we pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. The last major casualty earthquake in Iran struck in East Azerbaijan province in August 2012, killing over 300 people.

Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Susannah George in Irbil, Iraq; Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul; Zarar Khan in Islamabad and Sinan Salaheddin in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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Rescuers Search Debris After Iran-Iraq Quake Killing 430
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Default Rescuers Search Debris After Iran-Iraq Quake Killing 430






Rescuers Search Debris After Iran-Iraq Quake Killing 430



A woman mourns at an earthquake site in Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

By NASSER KARIMI and MOHAMMAD NASIRI - 52 minutes ago

SARPOL-E-ZAHAB, Iran (AP) — Rescuers on Tuesday used backhoes and heavy equipment to dig through the debris of buildings toppled by a powerful earthquake on the border between Iran and Iraq, with weeping women crying out to God as aid workers found new bodies.

The grim work began in earnest again at dawn in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which appears to be the hardest hit in the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Sunday night.

Both rescuers and local residents alike stood atop the remains of apartment complexes, looking through the rubble. They used heavy blankets to carry away corpses.

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.

There are fears more dead could be in the rubble in Sarpol-e-Zahab and other rural villages of Kermanshah province. Mohammad Ali Monshizadeh, a spokesman for the provincial forensic department, said possibly as many as 150 people were buried by family members after the earthquake in remote villages who had not been counted in the official death toll, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Iranian state media reported Tuesday that the earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border killed killed 430 people in Iran and injured 7,460.
Crews are digging through the rubble in Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab searching for victims and survivors. (Nov. 14)

Iran’s Red Crescent also said it worried about more bodies in rural villages, though it said the rescue operations in larger towns could end soon.

President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Kermanshah province on Tuesday to see the damage for himself and offer his support to those affected.

“This was a pain for all Iranians,” Rouhani said, according to a statement on the presidency’s website. “Representing the nation of Iran, I offer my condolences to the people of Kermanshah, and tell them that all of us are behind Kermanshah.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his thanks to foreign countries offering to help but wrote on Twitter: “For now, we are able to manage with our own resources.”

Cleric Abdolhossein Moezi, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who also is touring the area, said there was a need for more relief material and “security.” That was echoed by Nazar Barani, the mayor of the town of Ezgeleh, who told state TV on Tuesday his constituency still had a “deep need” for food, medicine and tents. He said 80 percent of the buildings in the town had been damaged by the quake.

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.

The quake killed 430 people in Iran and injured 7,460, state media reported Tuesday. Most of the injuries were minor with fewer than 1,000 still hospitalized, Iran’s crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.

The official death toll came from provincial forensic authorities based on death certificates issued. Some reports said unauthorized burials without certification could mean the death toll was actually higher.

The quake was centered about 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and struck 14.4 miles (23.2 kilometers) below the surface, a somewhat shallow depth that can cause broader damage. The quake caused Dubai’s skyscrapers to sway and could be felt 1,060 kilometers (660 miles) away on the Mediterranean coast.

Seven deaths occurred in Iraq and 535 people were injured, all in the country’s northern, semi-autonomous Kurdish region, according to its Interior Ministry.

The disparity in casualty tolls immediately drew questions from Iranians, especially because so much of the town was new.

Sarpol-e-Zahab fell to the troops of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during his 1980 invasion of Iran, which sparked the eight-year war between the two countries that killed 1 million people. Though clawed back by Iran seven months later, the area remained a war zone that suffered through Saddam’s missile attacks and chemical weapons.

After the war, Iran began rebuilding the town. It also was part of Ahmadinejad’s low-income housing project, which aided the Holocaust-questioning hard-liner’s populist credentials but also saw cheap construction.

Under the plan dubbed as Mehr or “kindness” in Farsi, some 2 million units were built in Iran, including hundreds in Sarpol-e Zahab. Many criticized the plan, warning that the low-quality construction could lead to a disaster.

“Before its 10-year anniversary, Mehr buildings have turned into coffins for its inhabitants,” the reformist Fararu news website wrote Monday.

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. In 2012, a major casualty earthquake killed over 300.


Karimi reported from Tehran, Iran. Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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