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More than 400 People Die in Middle Eastern Earthquake
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Photo courtesy of The Chicago Tribune.

Summary: So far, almost 400 casualties of the Iran-Iraq earthquake have been reported. 

At least 400 people have died because of a devastating earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border, The Guardian reported. Emergency services in the area state that the number injured could reach as much as 6,000.

  
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On early Monday, Iran’s Interior Ministry announced that most of those killed by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake were in the Kermansha Province, one of 31 provinces in Iran.  The earthquake centered 19 miles around the Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and tremors could be felt in the capital cities of Tehran and Baghdad.

The earthquake hit at 9:48 p.m. local time on Sunday, and Iranian officials said they expect the casualty toll to rise. A member of Iranian parliament told the press that some of the new hospitals in the area have already been destroyed in the earthquake and that some housing projects have also seen severe damage. In Iraq, officials said that at least six people have died and at least 68 have been injured. Near the border of Iraq, at least 10 homes have collapsed.

“There are still people under the rubble. We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will rise,” Mojtaba Nikkerdar, the provincial deputy governor in Iran’s western Kermanshah Province, said.

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In Kermanshah, three days of mourning have been announced, and the local governor said that some villages have been completely destroyed.

“There isn’t enough food, nor fuel and freezing cold can take lives. Children and the old are particularly hungry and many families have not yet been sheltered,” one reporter told Ilna, the local news agency.



Last night, rescuers worked to find people trapped in collapsed buildings affected by the earthquake; and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged government agencies to help those who were affected. Iranian police and other military forces were sent to places overnight.

Iraqi nemesis, Turkey, sent emergency relief, despite the two country’s contentious relationship. Kerem Kinik, Turkish Red Crescent’s vice president, told The Associated Press that Turkey sent 33 aid trucks, carrying 3,000 tents, heaters, 10,000 beds, blankets, and food.

President Donald Trump has yet to tweet about the earthquake, but other prominent figures such as Pope Francis have issued statements, sharing their condolences.

“Upon the injured and the emergency and civil authorities engaged in rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength,” a statement from the Vatican said.

Nearby Pakistan stated “[Our] thoughts and prayers are with the Iranian and Iraqi brothers who lost their lives in this tragic calamity and we pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”



 

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