Strong quake hits Iran-Iraq border, 67 dead

November 13, 2017 | 13:00
State television quoted an emergency services official as saying that many of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 kilometres from the border.
An earthquake victim is aided at Sulaimaniyah Hospital in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq. (SHWAN MOHAMMED/AFP)

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq: A strong earthquake that shook the Iran-Iraq border region on Sunday (Nov 12) killed at least 67 people, authorities and state media in the two countries said.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.3 temblor was centred 30 kilometres southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran.

At least 61 people were killed and 300 injured by a quake in Iran's Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border on Sunday, state television reported.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150.

Iran television quoted an emergency services official as saying that many of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 kilometres from the border.

The US Geological Survey put the quake at 7.3 magnitude, which placed the epicentre southwest of the city of Halabja along the Iraq-Iran border.

The mayor of Darbandikhan, Iraq, told AFP four people were killed by the earthquake in the town.

Another two people were killed in another town in Iraq, Kalar, according to the director of the hospital in the town about 70 kilometres south of Darbandikhan.

The quake struck the mountainous area of Sulaimaniyah province at 9.18pm (2.18am Singapore time Monday) at a depth of 25 kilometres, the monitor said.

It was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and sometimes for longer in other provinces of Iraq, AFP journalists said.

In the province of Sulaimaniyah, located in Iraq's Kurdistan region, residents ran out onto the streets at the time of the quake and some minor property damage was recorded, an AFP reporter said.

In Iran, ISNA said the earthquake was felt in several cities in the west of the country including Tabriz.

In southeastern Turkey, the earthquake was felt "from Malatya to Van", an AFP correspondent said. In the town of Diyarbakir, residents also left their homes before returning.

Turkish Red Crescent Chairman Kerem Kinik told broadcaster NTV that Red Crescent teams in Erbil were preparing to go to the site of the earthquake, and that Turkey’s national disaster management agency AFAD and National Medical Rescue Teams (UMKE) were also preparing to head into Iraq. AFAD’s chairman said the organisation was waiting for a reply to its offer for help.

In a tweet, Kinik said the Turkish Red Crescent was gathering 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and moving them towards the Iraqi border.

"We are coordinating with Iranian and Iraqi Red Crescent groups. We are also getting prepared to make deliveries from our northern Iraq Erbil depot," he said.

Israeli media said the quake was felt in many parts of Israel too.

The quake took place along a 1,500 kilometre fault line between the Arabia and Eurasia tectonic plates, a belt extending through western Iran and into northeastern Iraq, the US Geological Survey said.

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake near Iran's border with Turkmenistan in May killed two people, injured hundreds and caused widespread damage, state media reported.

The last major earthquake to strike Iran was a 2003 tremor in Bam, in the southeastern province of Kerman, which killed at least 31,000 people and flattened the city.

Agencies/ AFP

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