The death toll is climbing in the deadliest earthquake to shake the world this year. The 7.3 magnitude earthquake, that hit Iran near the city of Ezgeleh at 9.20pm local time Sunday, has left at least 452 people dead.
Over 7,000 people have been injured, and rescuers are frantically searching the rubble and debris for survivors of the quake that rocked the mountainous border region between Iran and Iraq.
“More than 150 million people in Iran and Iraq, and also in their capitals, felt this earthquake,” said Mehdi Zare, of the Iranian Seismological Centre.
Several cities are without power and water and many fear food will become scarce. Over 70,000 people are in need of emergency shelter, according to the head of Iranian Red Crescent.
Despite a depth of 23.2km – relatively shallow for an earthquake according to seismologists – the natural disaster was felt in both Pakistan and Turkey.
Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, tweeted last night that he had “instructed civil defence teams and health and aid agencies to do all that they can to provide assistance.” Across the border in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani was travelling to key areas affected by the quake to help relief efforts.
A woman living south of Baghdad, Majida Ameer, described the feeling of the earthquake. “I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” she told Reuters. “I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming: ‘Earthquake!'”
The Iran-Iraq earthquake’s death toll has already surpassed that of the 7.1 magnitude quake that hit Mexico City in September, which killed close to 400 people.