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Devastating tremors in Iran and Iraq: the death toll is growing rapidly

14 November 2017

The government is scrambling to get aid to the worst-hit area in the mountainous province of Kermanshah, where hundreds of homes were destroyed, reports the BBC.

Iraqi officials said seven people were killed and 325 injured in Iraq, all in the northern Kurdish provinces.

The head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the immediate need was for tents, water and food.

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Following the occurrence of the quake, Relief and Rescue Organisation of the Iranian Red Crescent Society in the first phase of its response operation deployed 16 response teams, 31 sniffer dog teams, 41 debris removing teams, 48 emergency sheltering teams and 9 emergency treatment teams to the affected cities of Qasre-Shirin, Gilane-Garb, Kermanshah, Sare-Pule-Zahab, Salase-Babajani, Dalahoo, Islamabad- E- Gharb, and Javanrood. Meshkat told Reuters, "More people will die because of the cold".

The Iranian Red Crescent said many areas lacked water and electricity and that aid supplies were being hampered by blocked roads.

Three days of mourning have been ordered for those in Kermanshah.

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Iran News said that Iranian soldiers, first to arrive in damaged areas, had to use their cell phone flashlights to search for those buried in the rubble.

Kermanshah's provincial officials said about 12,000 houses both in urban and rural regions across the province have been totally damaged due to the strong quake. Iranian Army helicopters were taking part in the relief effort.

In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake in northern Iran killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless, reducing dozens of towns and almost 2,000 villages to rubble.

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Iran has experienced at least two major quake disasters since - one in 2005 that killed more than 600 people and another in 2012 that left some 300 dead.

Devastating tremors in Iran and Iraq: the death toll is growing rapidly