New Delhi. At least 414 people were killed and almost 6,500 others injured after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Iran’s border with Iraq on Monday.More than 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter and rescuers were searching for dozens trapped under rubble in the mountainous area, Iranian Red Crescent said.
Local officials said the death toll would rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas of Iran.
The earthquake, which struck on Monday, was felt in several western provinces of Iran but the hardest hit province was Kermanshah. More than 300 of the victims were in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah province, about 15 km from the Iraq border.
Iranian state television said the earthquake had caused heavy damage in some villages where houses were made of earthen bricks. Rescuers were laboring to find survivors trapped under collapsed buildings.
The earthquake also triggered landslides that hindered rescue efforts, officials told state television. At least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected, Iranian media reported.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday, urging all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected. State TV appealed for blood donations.
In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535, all in the country’s northern Kurdish region, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry.
The earthquake was centered 31 kilometers outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at 9:48 P.M. Iran time, just as people began retiring for the night.
The earthquake struck 23.2 kilometers below the surface, a shallow depth that can amplify damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes can be highly destructive.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a directive for the country’s civil defense teams and “related institutions” to respond to the natural disaster. Brigadier General Saad Maan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, gave the casualty figures for Iraq.
The earthquake could be felt across Iraq, shaking buildings and homes from Irbil to Baghdad, where people fled into the streets of the capital.