Earthquake On Iran Iraq Border: “200 Dead” In Iran

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Search and rescue operations are underway either side of the Iran – Iraq border after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit the region last night, at around 2130 local time.

An official from Iraq’s meteorological department placed the epicentre in the Sulaymaniyah province town of Penjwin, on the border with Iran, and just 23.2 km below the surface.

Iranian province Kermanshah has been worst affected with deputy governor Mojtaba Nikkerdar warning: “There are still people under the rubble. We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will rise.” Three days of mourning were declared in the province, as state TV reported over 200 dead and 1,650 injured.

Shocks were felt as far as Mosul to the west, in Van, Turkey to the north and in Baghdad to the south, where residents rushed into the streets confused. Majida Ameer told AFP: “I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air.”

Initial reactions on social media played down the earthquake, with some joking that Iraq had been united by nature. Local TV station Rudaw was broadcasting an interview from its Sulaymaniyah studios when cameras began to shake, to the visible discomfort of the interviewee.

However, it soon became clear there was widespread damage in towns around the epicentre. Iraqi health officials have confirmed 6 dead so far, with Darbandikhan in Sulaymaniyah province worst affected. Local authorities have said that the town’s hospital is damaged and without power.

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