Tehran/Baghdad, Nov 13 (IANS) At least 147 people were killed after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck near the Iran-Iraq border, media reports said on Monday.
The quake hit 30 km southwest of Iraqi town of Halabja at 9.20 p.m., on Sunday, near the northeastern border with Iran, CNN quoted the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
It occurred at a depth of 33.9 km, and tremors were felt in Turkey, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon and as far as Pakistan.
According to Iran’s disaster management organisation, 141 people were killed in Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border, reports the Guardian.
More than 850 were injured, the organisation’s spokesperson told state media.
Most of the victims were from the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 km from the border, Iran’s emergency services chief, Pir Hossein Koolivand said .
The town’s main hospital was severely damaged, leaving it struggling to treat hundreds of wounded, state TV reported.
Rescuers worked through the night to find people trapped in collapsed buildings after the earthquake.
It affected several Iranian provinces and the Deputy Governor of Kermanshah province, Mojtaba Nikkerdar said the toll was likely to rise.
Iraqi officials have confirmed that at least six people were killed and 50 others injured in Darbandikhan town, Sulaimaniya province.
Iraq’s Meteorological Organisation has issued a warning urging citizens to stay away from buildings and to refrain from using elevators.
Iranian and Iraqi villages in the area were left without electricity and water flow.
The quake has sparked panic, with fears of aftershocks sending residents out into the streets, reports the BBC.
Mosques in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have been broadcasting prayers through loudspeakers.
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