Earthquake Kills Hundreds In Iraq

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At least 348 people have been reportedly killedin a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked Iranian and Iraqi border on Sunday night. Irans semi-official Isna news agency raised the death toll to 328 on Monday morning, after a quake struck the countrys western provinces at 9.20pm local time on Sunday. Local officials said the death toll would rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas. More than 70,000 people are in need of emergency shelter, according to the Iranian Red Crescent. The hardest hit province was Kermanshah, where three days of mourning have been announced. More than 236 people died in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 10 miles from the Iraq border. Farhad Tajari, the local MP, said 15 members of his family had been killed and that the towns main hospital was severely damaged and struggling to treat hundreds of injured people. The quake was said to have triggered landslides that hindered rescue efforts. It hit 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9:20 pm on Sunday, when many people would have been at home, the US Geological Survey said. Mojtaba Nikkerdar, the deputy governor of Kermanshah, said authorities there were in the process of setting up three emergency relief camps. Irans emergency services chief Pir Hossein Koolivand said it was difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off there have been landslides. The official IRNA news agency said 30 Red Cross teams had been sent to the quake zone, parts of which had experienced power cuts. In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah and injured around 150. Footage posted on Twitter showed panicked people fleeing a building in Sulaimaniyah, as windows shattered at the moment the quake struck, while images from the nearby town of Darbandikhan showed major walls and concrete structures had collapsed.   Photo: BBC
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