Red Crescent: More than 70,000 people need shelter. In Iran, most of the damage and the victims, 15 km from the border. In Iraq, the biggest damage to the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 211 people were killed last night because of the powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake which hit the Iraqi-Iraqi border at 21.18. More than 2,800 people were injured. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicentre of the shock was 32km south of the city of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Most of the deaths occurred in the Iranian city of Sarpol-e Zahab, in the province of Kermanshah, 15 kilometers from the border. This morning, the provincial Legal Medicine Organization said body count had reached 207, but the death toll is growing by the hour. The most important hospital in the area has been seriously damaged, making the treatment of wounded more difficult.
Many villages in Iran have registered different levels of destruction. The head of Iran's Red Crescent says that there were more than 70,000 people in need of emergency shelter.
The earthquake was also felt in the neighboring countries of the region, but the deaths and damage was limited to Iran and Iraq. Some sources report that seven people lost their lives in Iraq and 321 were injured. The biggest damage was reported in the town of Darbandikhan, in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called for the collection of all Iranian institutions and officers in aid of the victims, ordering the intervention of the armed forces to remove the rubble and transfer the wounded to medical care centres.
Prayers for the victims and those who have lost their loved ones. "Consolation and strength" to the authorities involved in rescue operations. In Iran, there are over 450 dead and 7,000 injured. Thousands spent the night in the frost.
The earthquake developed 58km north-east of Kerman at 6.32 local time. Ten minutes later there was a second magnitude 5 shock. Over 800,000 people live in the area. At the moment there is no news of serious damage or casualties. Local sources: Many villages destroyed.
The number of victims keeps rising, topping 530. Rouhani pledges immediate action. Expressions of solidarity pour in from around the world. Doubts are emerging about the quality of the buildings constructed under Ahmadinejad's government. Since 1990, almost 100,000 people have died in earthquakes.