Last month, a powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 struck at 21:18 local time near the Iraqi border, killing more than 500 people and injuring thousands, making this the world’s deadliest earthquake so far this year. The quake was so intense that it could be felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan.
According to seismologists in the country, this was the biggest quake recorded that has hit the western part of Iran. The devastation included collapsed buildings and cars destroyed by rubble. The damage was widespread due to the fact that most homes in the Kurdish mountains are made from mud bricks. In Sarpol-e Zahab, a city whose population is around 45,000 people, the sides of a number of tall buildings fell, forcing many residents to spend the night outdoors in freezing temperatures. Many citizens also fl ed their homes in fear of aftershocks. The earthquake also triggered multiple landslides, making the rescue effort more difficult in the mountainous region. There are also fears that a dam would burst after it suffered damage from the quake. People who were living nearby were asked to evacuate.
“My friend was screaming, saying, ‘I lost my home.’ Thank God, she and her family are doing well. She said people were only mourning and their loved ones were under the rubble,” one resident stated via Twitter.
It was estimated that about 70,000 people will need shelter in result of the damage from the earthquake. The IRNA, the state-run news agency in Iran, reported that at least 530 people were killed and 7,460 people were injured. At least eight people were killed on the Iraqi side of the border, and around 535 were injured. Most of the casualties were reported in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, which was the epicenter of the quake.
In Tehran, hundreds of people waited in line to donate blood after a call from the government was sent out. Officials from the Health Ministry traveled to the area, as well as the commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, delivered a message of condolences, urging rescuers to keep working in their pursuit of finding more survivors.
“The officials should hasten in these first hours with all their might and determination to help the injured, especially those trapped under rubble,” his office reported in response to relief efforts.
Sources: New York Times, Forbes, BBC