The officials said on Monday that no less than 200 people were killed and more than 1700 people injured when a frightful 7.3 magnitude earthquake shivered the rocky Iran-Iraq border prompting landslides that hampered rescue operations. The video posted on Twitter showed frightened people escaping a building in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq, as windows broke at the moment the deadly quake hit late Sunday. On the other hand, images from the nearby town of Darbandikhan showed main walls and solid structures had broken down.
The deputy governor of Iran’s Kermanshah province, Mojtaba Nikkerdar, said, “We are in the process of setting up three emergency relief camps.” The US Geological Survey said that the quake hit 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9.20 pm when many people would have been at home. The chief of Iran’s emergency services Pir Hossein Koolivand said that it was “difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off… there have been landslides”. The official IRNA news agency said that the worst-hit towns in Iran were Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah and Azgaleh, which is about 40 kilometers in the northwest.
30 Red Cross teams had been sent to the quake-affected area of which many parts had witnessed power cuts, it added. The officials said, in Iraq, the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured about 150 people. An AFP reporter said in Sulaimaniyah that residents ran out onto the streets and some damage to property was reported. The town’s mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan told AFP in Darbandikhan that “Four people were killed by the earthquake”. As per the director of the hospital in the town almost 70 kilometers south of Darbandikhan, one child and an elderly person were killed in Kalar, and 105 injured.
The AFP journalists said that the quake, which struck at an almost shallow depth of 25 kilometers, was experienced for 20 seconds in Baghdad, and for no longer in other regions of Iraq. Iran has witnessed at least two major quake disasters in last some years, one in 2005 that killed more than 600 and another in 2012 that killed almost 300.