Powerful Iran-Iraq earthquake kills at least 200

By Darran Simon, CNN

(CNN) -- More than 200 people are dead and more than 2,500 injured after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq late Sunday.

Iran's Press TV said the highest number of casualties in the country occurred in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, Kermanshah province, with the country's semi-official Mehr news agency saying 100 of the 207 reported dead were from that town alone.

In the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, seven deaths were reported.

While most of the deaths reported so far have been in Iran, the quake's epicenter was across the border in Iraq, about 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Baghdad.

Tremors were felt throughout the region according the US Geological Survey, which said the quake reached a depth of 23km, or just over 14 miles.

Cracks in dam

Seven people were killed and 301 injured in the Kurdish region of Iraq, according to Rekawt Hama Rashee, the health minister of the Kurdish Regional Government. Rasheed said most of the injuries were minor.

Four were killed in Darbandikhan, where a dam was hit by falling rocks. Rahman Shikhani, the head of the Darbandikhan Dam told CNN that cracks were spotted in the upper part of the dam but there was no water leakage.

Shikhani said a specialized team was working on assessing the damage to the dam and begin repairs. Residents in nearby areas were told to evacuate in case there were more tremors.

Video from AFP also showed crushed buildings in Darbandikhan. Dozens of people from the town were wounded, according to Omar Ahmad, the governor of Sulaimaniya province.

Iraq's Meteorological Organization issued a warning on Iraqi State TV urging citizens to stay away from buildings and to refrain from using elevators.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi tweeted Monday that he has "instructed civil defense teams and health and aid agencies to do all that they can to provide assistance" to those affected by the quake.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei sent a message of condolence, and urged military and civilian help to be dispatched to quake victims.

Shocks were also felt in Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait and Turkey, news agencies in those countries reported.

Iran, which sits on a major fault line between the Arabia and Eurasia plates, has experienced deadly quakes in the past.

In 2005 a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the city of Zarand in the southeastern province of Kerman, killing at least 400 people, and in 2012 a pair of earthquakes jolted northwest Iran, killing at least 300 people.

But the most deadly quake in recent memory occurred in 2003, when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the city of Bam in southeast Iran, killing around 31,000 people.


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