URGENT: Earthquake death toll in Iran rises to 371, 3950 injured
Death toll for a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake on Iraq-Iran border has risen to 371, with 3950 reported as injured.
The earthquake has left devastating damage to Kermanshah province, leaving at least 243 people dead in Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15km (10 miles) from the border. The number of fatalitiesis is feared to rise.
The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Sunday night about 64 miles (103km) southeast of the city of Sulaymaniyah, near the Iraq-Iran border.
The earthquake was felt across large parts of Iran, including Kermanshah, Kurdistan, Ilam, West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces.
The earthquake hit at 9:18pm local time at a depth of 33 kilometres. Rescuers worked through the night to find people trapped in collapsed buildings after the earthquake, which was felt as far west as the coast of the Mediterranean. The earthquake affected several Iranian provinces and the deputy governor of Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border told state television that the death toll would rise. Mojtaba Nikkerdar noted that there are still people under the rubble. “We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will rise.”
ّFollowing the death toll in Kermanshah province, he announced three days of public mourning in the whole province.
The electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.
Following the tragic event, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei called in a message for taking immediate measures to assist those affected by the earthquake, including a rapid mobilization of the relevant government organs to provide medical treatment for the injured.
He expressed his deep sorrow over the devastating earthquake leaving hundreds of casualties and many more homeless.
According to Director General of the Cultural Heritage of Kermanshah Province, the earthquake caused some damage to historical sites in the western parts of the country, including Manijeh Castle, Yazdgerd Castle, Khosrow Sassanid Palace in Qasr-e Shirin, Shah Abbasi Karvansarai, and Charghapi. He stressed that the Bisotun Inscription on a cliff at Mount Behistun in Kermanshah province has sustained no damage in the earthquake.
According to the head of Seismic Center of Iran, 118 aftershocks have rocked Kermanshah since last night’s earthquake, 17 of which measured between 4 to 5 on the Richter scale.
Ministry of Health has announced the dispatch of three trucks carrying medicine and medical supplies from Lorestan, Kurdistan and Hamedan to Kermanshah.
20 helicopters from Iran Army Aviation, 136 ambulances, and 28 ambulance buses were also deployed to earthquake-affected areas. Four field hospitals has also been set up in the area.