A 7.3-magnitude quake on the Iran-Iraq border leaves hundreds dead

15 November, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Phil Peters
  • EU ready to help Iran ad Iraq in earthquake aftermath

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to visit there Tuesday to assess damage and oversee rescue work.

At least 450 people have been killed and thousands are injured near the Iran-Iraq border after the region was rocked by a powerful 7.3 magnitude quake, authorities said Monday.

Survivors, many left homeless by Sunday's 7.3 magnitude quake that struck villages and towns in Kermansheh province along the mountainous border with Iraq, struggled through another bleak day on Tuesday in need of food, water and shelter. For 20 seconds the echoes of the natural disaster felt and residents of Baghdad.

Mr Rouhani, promising victims emergency financial assistance, said in Kermanshah: "I want to assure those who are suffering that the government has begun to act with all means at its disposal and is scrambling to resolve this problem as quickly as possible".

Rouhani said that all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up after the Islamic revolution of 1979 that are major players in the Iranian economy.

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water", Ali Gulani (42), from Qasr-e-Shirin, told BBC's Persian service.

"Newly constructed buildings. held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed", he told state TV while visiting the affected region. It was Iran's deadliest natural disaster in more than a decade. Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, authorities said, and several villages were completely wiped from the map.

Across the border in more sparsely populated areas of Iraq, the health ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured.

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Tents, some provided by the Red Crescent, dotted green spaces turned into camps for the displaced.

Three days of mourning have been ordered for those in Kermanshah.

To show solidarity with the Kurdish-majority province hit by the quake, a state newspaper printed a headline in Kurdish, which read "Iran cries with Kermanshah".

Full-scale rescue operation could start only with the dawn, and yet unknown, are still people under the rubble. Moezi said there was a need for more relief material and "security".

Local authorities said traffic chaos on roads, caused by people from nearby provinces who were rushing to help, further hampered the flow of aid.

Iran's Olympic weightlifting champion Kianoush Rostami put his Rio Olympics 2016 gold medal for auction to raise money for the quake-stricken areas. Numerous villages affected by quake were very remote and hard to reach, said Bagheri.

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.

"We were happy (after buying the flat), because we had escaped poverty", he said, but added: "look yourself, no one can live in there anymore".

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