Earthquake Kills 214 In Iran/Iraq

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake has shaken the northern border region between Iran and Iraq, killing at least 214 people and injuring more than 2,800.

One Iranian aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter after the quake, one of the largest this year. Most of those who died were in Iran’s western Kermanshah province, officials told state media.

At least seven more died in Iraq, where people fled into the streets in the capital, Baghdad. Mosques in the city have been broadcasting prayers through loudspeakers.

“I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” a Baghdad mother-of-three, Majida Ameer, told Reuters news agency.

“I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming: ‘Earthquake!'”

The Iranian news agency Isna quoted health officials as saying 2,500 people had been wounded.

Most of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15km  from the border, Iran’s emergency services chief, Pir Hossein Koolivand was quoted as saying on Iranian state television channel IRINN.

The town’s main hospital was severely damaged, leaving it struggling to treat hundreds of wounded, state TV reported. Many homes in the mountainous area are made of mud bricks and are at risk of collapse in a significant earthquake like the one that struck on Sunday.