More than 300 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 wounded in a powerful earthquake that jolted the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday, Iranian state media reported. The death toll was expected to rise even further, officials said.
The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said Monday that 328 people had been killed and 3,950 injured mainly in Iran’s western provinces after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Iraqi side of the border, sending seismic shock waves as far as Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey. Seven people were killed in Iraq, officials there said.
The majority of the casualties from the earthquake appeared to be centered in Iran’s Kermanshah province, which borders Iraq. Videos and images from the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, located roughly 10 miles from the border, showed partially collapsed buildings and residents wrapped in blankets in the streets.
According to local media reports, emergency personnel worked through the night to rescue victims from the rubble. Power cuts were also reported in locations across western Iran, which is home to some of the country’s poorest regions.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed his condolences Monday and ordered government agencies, including the military and Revolutionary Guard Corps to assist with rescue and humanitarian efforts.
Iran sits atop several major fault lines and has suffered a number of devastating earthquakes. In 2003, Iran’s historic city of Bam was destroyed by an earthquake that killed more than 26,000 people.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Erin Cunningham