At least 450 people killed in powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake on Iran-Iraq borderA powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake near the Iraq-Iran border killed at least 450 people across both countries.
A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake near the Iraq-Iran border killed at least 450 people across both countries, authorities said. The powerful earthquake sent residents fleeing their homes into the night and was felt as far away as the Mediterranean coast.
According to official tallies, 445 Iranians were confirmed dead as of Monday afternoon. Over 7,156 others were also injured.
Iran's western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the tremor Sunday night. Kermanshah is a rural, mountainous region where residents rely mainly on farming.
The highest casualties occurred in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah Province. The town sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq. Sarpol-e-Zahab residents said the power and water were out and telephone and cellphone lines were spotty.
In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535, all in the country's northern Kurdish region, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry.
The quake was centered 31 kilometers South of the eastern Iraqi city of Halabjah, according to the most recent measurements from the US Geological Survey. It struck at 9:18 pm Iran time, just as people began retiring for the night.
It could be felt on the Mediterranean coast, some 1,000 kilometers away.
The earthquake struck 23.2 kilometers below the surface, a shallow depth that can amplify damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes can be highly destructive.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported. President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to tour earthquake-damaged areas tomorrow.
The semi-official ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake. Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for the country's crisis management headquarters, told two semi-official news agencies that casualty figures stood at 407 killed and 6,700 injured.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a directive for the country's civil defense teams and "related institutions" to respond to the natural disaster. Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, gave the casualty figures for Iraq.
The quake could be felt across Iraq, shaking buildings and homes from Irbil to Baghdad, where people fled into the streets of the capital.
(With AP inputs)