7.3-Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Iran and Iraq, Tremors Felt in Israel

Marie Harrington
November 16, 2017

But by late afternoon, officials said all the roads in Kermanshah province had been re-opened, although the worst-affected town of Sar-e Pol-e Zahab remained without electricity, said state television. Many survivors, in need of food and water, battled the cold.

On that note, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow issued a statement stressing the need to reassess the national crisis-dealing mechanism after the natural disaster, reported Iran's Tasnim.

The 7.3-magnitude quake struck villages and towns in the mountainous area of Kermanshah province that borders Iraq.

The disparity in casualty tolls immediately drew questions from Iranians, especially because so much of the town was new. Most of the injuries were minor with fewer than 1,000 still hospitalized, Iran's crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV. "If not, we'll free to death as it's so cold at night".

A homeless young woman in Sarpol-e Zahab, one of the hardest-hit towns, told state TV that her family was exposed to the night chill because of lack of tents.

"My home is now a pile of mud and broken tiles".

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported.

Although President Hassan Rouhani's government has promised to meet their needs, the displaced and shocked residents nevertheless fear for the future.

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In Darbandikhan, Iraq, Amina Mohammed said she and her sons escaped their home as it collapsed around them.

Houses in Iranian villages are often made of concrete blocks or mudbrick that can crumble and collapse in a strong quake.

More than 500 people were injured in both provinces and the nearby province of Kirkuk. All the relatives were there ... like 50 people. But not all of their family members were able to make it to Canada. "Where is the aid?"

In Iraq, nine people were killed and 550 were injured, all in the country's northern Kurdish region, according to the United Nations. The last major casualty natural disaster in Iran struck in East Azerbaijan province in August 2012, killing over 300 people.

Hospitals in nearby provinces took in numerous injured, state television said, airing footage of survivors waiting to be treated. Hundreds of critically injured people were dispatched to hospitals in Tehran.

Iranian aid officials say thousands of people do now have emergency shelter, but many thousands more do not.

Sarpol-e-Zahab residents said the power and water were out and telephone and cellphone lines were spotty. Groups clustered around bonfires trying to warm themselves.

State television showed tents, blankets and food being distributed in areas struck by the temblor. "We need everything. The authorities should speed up their help", she said. But many more people are thought to have died and been buried without death certificates, meaning they are not included in the official figures.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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