An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale struck Iraq and Iran on Sunday and jolted the region. The state media in the two affected countries said that about 450 people were killed and rescue workers were still searching for dozens who are trapped under rubble in the mountainous area. As per the reports of State Television more than about 328 people were killed in Iran and at least about 2,500 people were injured. According to local officials the number of deaths will be increasing when the rescue workers reach the remote areas of Iran. The earthquake was clearly felt in several western provinces of Iran but the province that was hardest hit was Kermanshah, in that particular area, three days of mourning was announced. More than 236 of the victims were in Sarpol-e Zahab County in Kermanshah province which is located about 9 miles from the border of Iraq.
The state television of Iran said that the earthquake had caused severe damage in some of the villages where the houses were made of earthen bricks. The rescue workers were laboring to find the survivors who were trapped under the collapsed buildings. The earthquake had also triggered landslides which have greatly resulted in hindering rescue efforts. This is what rescue officials told state television. According to the media of Iran, the earthquake affected at least 14 provinces in Iran.
The Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday and urged all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected. The Geological Survey of the United States said the earthquake was of magnitude 7.3. A meteorology official of Iraq put its magnitude at 6.5 with the epicenter located in Penjwin in Sulaimaniyah province in the Kurdistan region which is very close to the main border crossing with Iran. Health officials of Kurdish stated that at least four people were killed in Iraq and more than about 50 were injured. The earthquake was clearly felt as far south as Baghdad where a number of residents rushed from their houses and tall buildings when tremors shook the capital of Iraq. Electricity was cut off in a number of cities of Iraq and Iran. The fear of aftershocks resulted in sending thousands of people in both of the countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.