Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Officials raise Iran-Iraq quake death toll to 530

Officials raise Iran-Iraq quake death toll to 530

On the Iraq side of the border, 11 people were killed and the most damage was seen in Darbandikhan, near the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The magnitude 7.3 quake, which struck near the mountainous Iran-Iraq border Sunday night, also killed 10 people in Iraq and wounded hundreds, officials said.

Iran's western Kermanshah province experienced the worst damage in that country.

"We need help. We need everything".

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water", Ali Gulani (42), from Qasr-e-Shirin, told BBC's Persian service.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, one of the worst hit by the November 12 quake, on November 14 and gave a speech in which he asserted that the collapse of recently built buildings "should be investigated". The casualties and damage were limited to only Iran and Iraq, though. Iraqi officials said seven people were killed and 325 injured in Iraq, all in the northern Kurdish provinces.

Rouhani's government has not asked for global assistance, leaving the relief effort in the hands of the Red Crescent, a few other nongovernmental organizations, military agencies like the paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - and individual good Samaritans.

Three days of mourning have been ordered for those in Kermanshah.

As part of its rescue and relief operations, the IRGC transferred the field hospital from Isfahan province to Kermanshah. "Search operations are reaching their end, with teams constantly monitoring the situation to know if there are still people to extract from the rubble", Behnam Saidi, the spokesman for a crisis unit set up to handle the response to the quake, told state television.

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He added that "psychological support teams" had been sent to these areas. For more on these we turn to our Ro Aram...

Numerous damaged buildings were built during former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration, though some of them were completed and handed over to the residents under Rouhani. The Red Crescent reported that 12,000 residential buildings had collapsed and more than 500 villages had been affected, with tens of thousands homeless.

The Turkish Red Crescent has sent assistance including 33 aid trucks, 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and food to Sulaymaniyah, and the military has dispatched a cargo plane of aid.

Iran was struggling to deliver relief 48 hours after the worst natural disaster to strike the country in more than a decade.

By Monday, officials said all the roads in Kermanshah province had been reopened.

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Iran has encountered multiple earthquakes in its past, as it sits atop of the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

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