More than 450 killed in major Iran earthquake

At least 14 provinces in western Iran were hit Monday by a strong 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
By Andrew McDonald | Nov 16, 2017
A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit several provinces in Iran close to the Iraq border on Monday, killing more than 450 people and injuring some 7,000, according to a Reuters report.

Rescue teams had their hands full as they searched for victims in towns and villages who were trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings.

At least 14 provinces in Iran are affected, with the western province of Kermanshah on the Iraqi border being hit the hardest. The most devastated area is the city of Sarpol-e Zahab with a population of 85,000.

"I lost nine members of my family," a grieving woman told state TV. "They were killed while they slept."

In Iraq, the most affected area is the Darbandikham district near the Iranian border, where the only hospital was severely damaged and without power and at least 10 houses had collapsed.

"The situation there is very critical," said Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed in the Reuters report.

The quake was felt as far away as Baghdad.

"I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air," said Majida Ameer. "I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. "But then I heard everyone around me screaming: 'Earthquake!'"

Iran, which is located along major fault lines, is susceptible to frequent earthquakes. In 2003, some 31,000 people in the historic city of Bam perished in a magnitude 6.6 quake.

Today, more than 70,000 people need emergency shelter, Reuters reports.

"The main problem is sheltering people at this cold weather," said Faramarz Akbar, governor of Qasr-e Shririn, to Iranian TV. "We need more tents."

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