TEHRAN, Nov. 13 – The powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake which hit the border region between Iran and Iraq on Sunday has killed at least 395 Iranians, state TV reported on Monday.
The quake also injured over 6,600 people, the report said. The quake’s epicenter was located approximately 32 km south of the city of Halabja in a remote mountainous region of eastern Iraq, some 200 km north-east of Baghdad and 400 km west of Tehran, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The quake hit the area at 9:18 p.m. local time (0018 GMT), when many people would have been at home, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The tremor was felt in several Iranian provinces bordering Iraq including the capital, Tehran.
Over 20 Iranian villages in Iran’s Kermanshah province have been damaged and power and water flows disrupted. The roads networks in the area have sustained damage. Officials said the access to rural areas is still limited.
Iranian emergency teams have been dispatched to the quake-hit region and helicopters are delivering basic needs. There are also strong aftershocks in the area.
Field hospitals have been set up in the quake-hit areas. Hospitals in Tehran have been put on alert to treat those of the wounded who are transferred to the capital, Press TV reported.
At least 43 ambulances, four ambulance buses, and 130 emergency technicians have been stationed in the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran for a quick transfer of the victims to hospitals.
Over 100 medics have also been dispatched to the affected areas. The Iranian Air Force, too, has deployed helicopters to accelerate the transfer of the wounded.
Iranians have been flocking to the branches of the Blood Transfusion Organization to donate blood.
President Rouhani is scheduled to travel to Kermanshah Province to oversee the rescue work on Tuesday.
On Monday, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli left for quake-hit province of Kermanshah in western Iran, accompanied by Minister of Health Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, Head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society Ali Asqar Peivandi and a delegation from Presidential Office, official IRNA news agency said.
Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, being crossed by several major fault lines that cover at least 90 percent of the country. As a result, destructive earthquakes in Iran occur constantly.
(Copyright Xinhua, received through National News Agency)