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Over 400 killed in quake on Iran-Iraq border


A rescue worker searching for survivors with his sniffer dog after the devastating earthquake at Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran on Monday. – PTI
 TEHRAN, Nov 13 - A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake near the Iraq-Iran border killed over 400 people across both countries, sent residents fleeing their homes into the night and was felt as far away as the Mediterranean coast, authorities said today.Iran’s western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the temblor on Sunday night, with authorities saying that the quake killed 407 people in the country and injured 6,700. Kermanshah is a rural, mountainous region where residents rely mainly on farming.

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 quake was centred 31 km outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the US Geological Survey. It struck at 9.48 pm Iran time, just as people began retiring for the night. It could be felt on the Mediterranean coast, some 1,000 km away.

The earthquake struck 23.2 km below the surface, a shallow depth that can amplify damage. Magnitude 7 quakes can be highly destructive.

Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes. More than 100 aftershocks followed.

The quake’s worst damage appeared to be in the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, said she fled empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed. “Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed,” Fard said. “I have no access to my belongings.”

Reza Mohammadi, 51, said he and his family ran out into the alley after the first shock. “I tried to get back to pick up some stuff but it totally collapsed in the second wave,” Mohammadi said. – AP

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