Over 200 killed in powerful earthquake near Iran-Iraq border
Tehran/Baghdad: At least 200 people were killed and over thousands injured after a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake jolted the Iran-Iraq border area.
The epicentre of the earthquake on Sunday was 32 km southwest of the Halabja area near the Iranian border at the depth of 33.9 km, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), official reports said.
The occurred at a depth of 33.9 km and tremors were also felt in Turkey, Israel and Kuwait, BBC reported.
Over 20 Iranian villages in the area have been damaged and the power and water flow have been disrupted.
Iranian emergency teams have rushed to the quake-hit region and helicopters are delivering basic need to people affected by the quake.
At least 61 people were killed and 300 injured in western Iran, the state media said. The toll is likely to rise.
The earthquake sparked panic, with residents fleeing their homes for the streets.
Mosques in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have been saying prayers through loudspeakers.
Many of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 km from the border, Iran's emergency services chief, Pir Hossein Koolivand, said, according to Iranian state television channel IRINN.
Damage was reported in at least eight villages, the head of Iran's Red Crescent Organisation, Morteza Salim, told the channel.
"Some other villages have suffered power cuts and their telecommunications system has also been disturbed," he said.
In Iraq, the earthquake was felt in many provinces in the north and central regions, including the capital Baghdad, witnesses said.
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Most casualties occurred in the town of Darbandikhan, around 35 km from the city of Sulaimaniyah.
The casualties in Darbandikhan could rise as some houses have collapsed and it is not clear yet whether there were people buried under the debris, Nasih Mala Hassan, Mayor of Darbandikhan, was quoted as saying.
Iraqi Minister of Water Resources warned the people down the Darbandikhan Dam to be in highest alert as the condition of the dam is not clear.
In Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, dozens of people were taken to hospitals. Some were treated from injuries and others fainted or shocked.
Many of the injured in Erbil were students who live in dormitories, the health department was quoted as saying.
Saad Maan, spokesman of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, told reporters that cracks appeared in some buildings in central Baghdad, while an old house was seriously damaged.