Over 300 dead in major earthquake on Iran-Iraq border

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck at around 6:20pm Irish time on Sunday

Over 300 dead in major earthquake on Iran-Iraq border

People look at destroyed buildings after an earthquake at the city of Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran, 13-11-2017. Image: Pouria Pakizeh/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 08:55

At least 335 people have been killed and more than 2,500 injured in Iran after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck near the border between Iran and Iraq.

The earthquake was centred about 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja at about 6.20pm Irish time on Sunday.

It was just 15 miles deep and was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad and was also felt in Turkey, Kuwait and Israel.

The tremor killed 328 people and injured more than 2,500 in Iran.

At least seven deaths were reported in neighbouring Iraq with 321 people hurt, authorities said.

Most of those killed were on the Iranian side and officials say more deaths are expected.

Landslides

The quake triggered landslides in the mountainous region along the Iran-Iraq border, also destroying buildings, shattering windows and sending people running for safety.

TV reports indicate that more than half the Iranian casualties are from the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, and the district of Ezgeleh, which have a combined population of 30,000.

The area, about ten miles from the border with Iraq, is in the Kermanshah province.

Kermanshah province's governor told state TV: "There are still people under the rubble.

"We hope the number of dead and injured won't rise too much, but it will rise."

Emergency relief

At least three emergency relief camps are being set up in the province.

Head of the emergency medical services Pirhossein Koulivand said it was "difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off - there have been landslides."

There have also been a number of aftershocks felt and electricity has been cut in several Iranian and Iraqi cities.

Nevertheless, dozens of rescue teams are searching for survivors in larger towns and Red Cross teams are on their way.

"Critical" situation

In Iraq, the most extensive damage was seen in the town of Darbandikhan, which is in the Kurdish region and around 47 miles east of the city of Sulaymaniyah, where more than 30 people were injured.

Local health minister Rekawt Rasheed said the situation was "critical," made worse by the fact that the district's main hospital was badly damaged and without power.

The region has regular earthquakes and last night's struck along a 930-mile fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which runs through western Iran and into Iraq's north east.

It was one of the region's worst quakes struck Bam in Iran in 2003 and killed at least 31,000 people.

There have been two major quakes since then - in 2005 more than 600 were killed and in 2012 around 300 died.