An earthquake hit the Iran-Iraq border, killing more than 210 people and injuring 860 in the mountainous region of Iran alone, state media there said. The Baghdad government did not immediately give word on damage or casualties in that country. The 7.3-magnitude quake was centered 31 kilometres outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja yesterday, according to the most recent measurements from the US Geological Survey.
It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilometers, a shallow depth that can have broader damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes on their own are capable of widespread, heavy damage. The quake was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast. Its worst damage appeared to be in Iran's western Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq. Residents in the rural area rely mainly on farming to make a living.
Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes into the night. Some 50 aftershocks have followed. The state-run IRNA news agency disclosed the increase in casualties early today and said rescue work was continuing overnight and would accelerate during the daytime.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences this morning and urged rescuers and all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported. The semi-official ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake.