Iran: Hundreds dead, thousands injured in earthquake

The death toll from a tremor that struck Iran is expected to climb. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Over 300 people were killed and several thousand were wounded in a powerful earthquake that shook southern Iran on its border with Iraq, on Sunday night.

The latest death toll stands at 328 people killed and more than 2,538 injured. The count is expected to rise as emergency and rescue forces extract the victims from under the debris.

The Seismological Center of the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University registered the quake at 7.3 on the Richter scale, with the epicenter at a depth of 11km, south of the town of Azgaleh in Iran’s Western province of Kermanshah.

The province of Kermanshah is known as a poor one which has been neglected by the central government. The rickety structures in the region are built on hill sides, and hundreds of thousands are feared to have lost their homes, reported an Israeli expert to IDF Radio on Monday.

The only hospital in the area was heavily damaged and the army has set up field hospitals to help those needing assistance, Iran’s state TV reported.

The quake has so far been followed by over 118 aftershocks ranging from 2 to 5 in magnitude, Iran’s Fars News reported.

Surrounding countries have dispatched aid to the Islamic Republic.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry says seven people were killed in the country as a result of the seismological event.

Iran is crisscrossed with fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes, experiencing at least one slight tremor every day on average.

The worst tremor in recent times hit the Iranian city of Bam in December 2003, killing 31,000 people, about a quarter of its population, and destroying the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.

The impact was felt in countries across the Middle East, including in Kuwait, Syria, Turkey and Israel, where residents along the coast said they felt the tremors.