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Furious rescue work after killer quake

Top News | Nov 14, 2017
Iranian rescue workers dug through rubble in a hunt for survivors after a major earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing more than 340 people and injuring thousands.

The 7.3-magnitude quake rocked a border area 30 kilometers southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan on Sunday night, when many people would have been at home.

The quake was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast.

The worst affected areas were in Iran's western province of Kermanshah, where the coroner's office said at least 336 people were dead and 3,950 injured. It is a rural, mountainous region, where residents mainly farm for a living.

In Iraq, the quake killed at least seven people and injured 535 - all in the northern, semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes into the night. More than 100 aftershocks followed.

A woman and her baby were pulled alive from the rubble in the Iranian town of Sarpol-e Zahab - the worst hit in the quake which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Officials said they were setting up relief camps but that access to the affected areas was not easy.

In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi issued a directive for civil defense teams and related institutions to respond to the disaster.

The Iraqi city of Halabja, closest to the epicenter, is notorious for the 1988 chemical attack in which Saddam Hussein's regime killed some 5,000 people with mustard gas.

In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake near the Caspian Sea in northern Iran killed 40,000 people and left 300,000 injured and half a million homeless. In just seconds the quake reduced dozens of towns and nearly 2,000 villages to rubble.

Thirteen years later, a quake struck the ancient southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing at least 31,000 people.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE



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