Devastating tremors in Iran and Iraq: the death toll is growing rapidly

15 November, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Strong Quake Jolts Western Iran

At least 530 people were killed and over 8,000 others injured in the 7.3 magnitude quake that rattled the border region between Iraq and Iran late on Sunday, according to the latest report of Iran's state news agency.

Rescuers used backhoes and other heavy equipment to dig through toppled buildings in Sarpol-e-Zahab, home to more than half of the dead.

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water".

"Fortunately no damages were inflicted upon display windows and historical objects within the museum", he added.

Red Crescent Relief and Rescue teams from Kurdistan and Markazi provincial branches are providing relief and rescue services in the city of Salase-Babajani, teams from Lorestan to Qasre-Shirin and teams from Hamedan to Sare-Pule-Zahab.

This quake struck just after 9 p.m. on Sunday, and has been recognized as the strongest natural disaster to ever hit the Western part of Iran.

The town centre was clogged with traffic as people from the surrounding province rushed to help with rescue efforts.

Rouhani landed by helicopter in the city of Kermanshah and promised the government would move swiftly to help those left homeless.

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Tents, some provided by the Red Crescent, dotted green spaces turned into camps for the displaced. "We need water, we need food, like bread, and we need blankets".

Rouhani said that all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up after the Islamic revolution of 1979 that are major players in the Iranian economy.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the immediate need was for tents, water and food. "The faults and shortcomings in the construction of these buildings should be investigated".

Night-time temperatures in Kermanshah province fell close to freezing point for a second night in succession. Ali Daei, football coach and former player and world record holder for global goalscoring, was among the first to help those in need by starting a campaign in Tehran to gather humanitarian aid for Kermanshah. In the nearby Kurdish town of Eslamabad, a hospital only recently inaugurated by the government collapsed, killing several people there, lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said.

Iran sees frequent seismic activity.

In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake in northern Iran killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless, reducing dozens of towns and almost 2,000 villages to rubble in just seconds. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 natural disaster flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says his administration will probe the cause of so much damage to buildings constructed under a state-owned program in the quake-stricken area along the border with Iraq.

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