More than 60 deaths in Iran reported with over 300 injured and Iranian media say at least six also dead in Iraq
November 12, 2017 — A powerful earthquake struck the region along the border between Iran and Iraq on Sunday, killing at least 61 people and injuring 300 in Iran, an Iranian official has said.
Iranian state TV had initially reported six deaths and 200 injuries inside Iraq, though there was no official comment from Iraq’s government.
The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred 19 miles (31km) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja and was measured as magnitude 7.2.
The Islamic Republic of Iran News Network quoted the head of the country’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, as saying at least 61 had been killed and 300 injured on Iran’s side of the border.
More casualties are expected from neighbouring countries – reports said the quake was felt as far away as Israel.
Iranian state TV said that Iraqi officials reported at least six people dead inside Iraq, along with more than 50 people injured in Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 in Khanaquin city. No reports were immediately available from Iraq’s government.
Koulivand earlier told a local television station that the earthquake knocked out electricity in Iran’s western cities of Mehran and Ilam. He also said 35 rescue teams were providing assistance.
The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, in a phone call with the interior ministry, emphasised the need for maximum effort from officials.
Iranian social media was abuzz on Sunday night with posts of people evacuating their homes, particularly in Kermanshah and Ghasr-e Shirin.
The semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake.
Officials announced that schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces would be closed on Monday because of the tremor.
Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.