The border of Iran-Iraq got hit by a powerful earthquake of 7.3-magnitude quake on late Sunday, causing massive damage and deaths to around 500 people and injuring 860 in the mountainous region of Iran alone, local media stated.
The government of Baghdad did not immediately give word on the number of casualties or damages in the country.
According to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey, the 7.3-magnitude quake spread across 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside Halabja, the eastern Iraqi city.
Iran-Iraq earthquake: Around 500 People Dead
It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles), a shallow depth that can have broader damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes on their own are capable of widespread, heavy damage.
Iran’s western Kermanshah province suffered major damage by the quake near the Mediterranean coast. The worst damage appears to be in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq. Residents in the rural are dependent mainly on farming to make a living.
Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes into the night. Some 50 aftershocks have followed.
IRNA news agency which is state-run revealed the increase in casualties early Monday and said rescue work was continuing very heavily overnight and is intended to be accelerated during the daytime.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported.
ILNA news agency which is semi-official said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the devastating earthquake.
Officials announced that schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces would be closed Monday because of the tremor.
More than six people have already died in Iraq, along with more than 50 people being injured in Sulaymaniyah province.
The reason for being prone to near-daily quakes is that Iran sits on many major fault line. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing more than 26,000 people. The last major casualty earthquake in Iran struck in East Azerbaijan province in August 2012, killing over 300 people.