The regions surrounding Iran’s Kermanshah province were hit by a major earthquake in the early morning hours. The earthquake, which registered a 7.3 on the Richter scale, has killed close to 129 people in Kermanshah alone.
The earthquake was felt in regions surrounding Iran’s northern border region. Iran shares borders to the north with Iraq. The ripples of the earthquake were felt throughout the areas.
So far, authorities have registered the overall death toll to be over 100. However reports state that the death toll is likely to rise. Iran’s emergency services chief stated that many victims were trapped in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, nearly 15km from the northern border.
Reports stated that the earthquake caused mass panic in these border towns with people rushing blindly onto the street. The head of Iran’s Red Crescent organization, Morteza Salim reported damage in at least eight border villages. He stated that some of the villages were also facing power cuts and communication issues.
The authorities admitted that rescue missions were being hampered by the treacherous landslides, which were set into motion by the earthquake.
The earthquake was centered nearly 350km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, but its ripples were felt throughout the country. Video footage of the event showed that the earthquake crushed buildings in Darbandikhan.
Iraq’s Meteorological Organization immediately kicked into effect, issuing warnings on the Iraqi State TV about the natural disaster. The department urged citizens to steer clear of any large buildings, and refrain from using elevators.
According to media reports, the earthquake’s effects were also felt in neighboring countries like Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Turkey.
Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, stated that the government was monitoring the situation and was on high alert to shield its citizens from the disaster’s consequences.
Mosques in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad have been saying prayers on loudspeakers for the victims.