Officials raise Iran-Iraq natural disaster death toll to 530

Pauline Gross
November 15, 2017

State officials have so far reported that at least 452 people have died and more than 7,000 are injured.

"It slightly damaged five historical sites including a Safavid-era caravanserai and a Sassanid-era fortress in the counties of Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab and Dalahu in Kermanshah province while assessing the damage is still ongoing", CHTN cited the provincial tourism chief, Jalil Baalai, as saying.

More than 500 villages in the region suffered damage.

Iran's Red Crescent said emergency shelter had been provided for thousands of homeless people, but a lack of water and electricity as well as blocked roads in some areas hindered aid supply efforts.

The quake struck at 21:18 local time (18:18 GMT) on Sunday, about 30km (19 miles) south of Darbandikhan in Iraq, near the north-eastern border with Iran.

Photographs posted on Iranian news websites showed rescue workers digging people out of collapsed buildings, cars smashed beneath rubble and rescue dogs trying to find signs of life under the twisted ruins. "The most urgent need is to provide solutions for heating, housing and food", Pir Hossein Koolivand, the head of national rescue services, told state television.

"Iran wept", read the front page of Aftab-e-Yazd, over a big photograph of an Iranian woman holding a lost family member in her arms.

At least 280 people were killed in the town, home to some 85,000 people, where crumpled vehicles lay under the rubble of flattened buildings on the streets.

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Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, offered his condolences on Monday and called on government agencies to do all they could to help.

The report Tuesday afternoon by the IRNA news agency said the number of injured in the temblor now stood at 7,460.

Rescuers used heavy equipment to dig through the debris of toppled buildings on Tuesday and the government scrambled to get aid to the worst-hit Kermanshah province where hundreds of homes were destroyed, the BBC reported.

At least 7,460 people were injured during the natural disaster, which hit seven big cities and 1,950 villages in the province.

The region has regular earthquakes and last night's struck along a 930-mile fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which runs through western Iran and into Iraq's northeast.

Moreover, two major Iranian football clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis, provided 2,000 blankets to be distributed among people, in the quake-stricken regions in western Iran, whose houses have been damaged and who are left without shelter in the cold weather.

The Iranian army, the elite Revolutionary Guards and forces of its affiliated Basij militia were dispatched to affected areas on Sunday night.

Other reports by GizPress

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