VIDEO - The earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale also left thousands injured on Sunday evening. This is the deadliest earthquake of the year in the world.
The assessment of the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck northeastern Iraq and border areas in Iran and Turkey on Sunday night is getting worse. At least 421 people were killed and more than 7000 injured, according to a new count given on Monday. Most of the victims were counted in Iran. This is the deadliest earthquake since the beginning of 2017 but not the most powerful, which remains that of 8 September in Mexico, a magnitude 8.2.
After initially placing the epicenter of the earthquake on the Iraqi side of the border, the US National Geological Institute (USGS) placed it on Monday - just like its Iranian counterpart - in Iran, close to the border, about fifty kilometers from the border. north of Sar-e Pol-e Zaham, the city most affected by the disaster, with more than 280 dead.
According to the Geophysical Institute of the University of Tehran, the earthquake was followed by more than 150 tremors, of which about 20 were over 4, with a maximum of 4.7 on the Richter scale. The public media have called for calm. "The situation is under control in areas hit by the earthquake," state television assured.
In Iran, at least 413 dead and 7370 wounded have been reported, according to a report Monday night. The dead are all from Kermanshah province, on the border with Iraq. "We are installing three emergency camps" in this area, the state governor of Kermanshah told state television. According to the official Irna news agency, some 30 teams of Iranian Red Crescent rescuers have been sent to western Iran. While hundreds of ambulances and dozens of army helicopters have been mobilized for relief operations especially in rural areas. 200 wounded were evacuated to Tehran by plane for hospitalization.
In Iraq, the earthquake was strongly felt in Baghdad and many provinces. The last official report of the tragedy reports a dozen deaths and 336 wounded. In Darbandikhan, the most affected locality on the Iraqi side, the authorities have called on residents of the southern part of the city to leave the area, fearing that a dam has been hit. "We have not seen this here for a century at least," said AFP a local official.
The shake was also felt in southeastern Turkey. According to the authorities, neither damage nor casualties have been recorded.
Schools closed and roads cut
Tents, blankets, food and water were distributed to people in different Iranian cities who spent the night under the stars. Asked by state television, Pir Hossein Koolivand, head of the Iranian National Emergency Service, said it was "difficult to send rescue teams to some villages because roads were cut due to landslides of land ".
Videos or photos released by the Iranian media show that several newly constructed apartment buildings have held up rather well. In contrast, the lower houses suffered significant damage. In Sar-e Pol-e Zahab, the city most affected by the disaster, the hospital and half of the county's schools were damaged. In neighboring Dalahoo County, many villages have been destroyed to 100%, according to the local prefect cited by the agency Tasnim.
In several provinces affected by the earthquake, authorities have called for residents to sleep outside homes and to move as a precaution. Some cities are without electricity because of the earthquake. The schools were to remain closed Monday in Iran including those of Kermanshah, where three days of mourning were decreed.
Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Syria and the United Nations offered their condolences. Berlin and the United Nations offered their help when needed.
In the past, Iran has already been hit by violent earthquakes several times. In December 2003, a tremor destroyed the historic city of Bam in Iran, where at least 31,000 people were killed. In April 2013, Iran had suffered two earthquakes of magnitude 6.4, then 7.7, the strongest shock since 1957 in that country.