Powerful earthquake strikes Iran-Iraq border, 130 die in Iran
The middle east was rocked by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake which originated in the Iraqi city of Halabja near the Iran-Iraq border. According to officials, at least 130 people are feared dead in Iran alone. Many more are estimated to be injured. Tremors were reportedly felt in Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey and Pakistan as well. What's happening on the ground? Let's see.
Halabja: The point of origin
The US Geological Survey identified the epicenter of the earthquake at Halabja, a town located about 100 km north of Baghdad. Halabja had witnessed a deadly chemical attack killing at least 5000 Kurds during Saddam Hussein's regime in 1988.
What do we know about the scale of destruction?
At least 130 people have reportedly died in Iran. According to Fars News, Iran's semi-official news agency, at least 1000 people have been injured. Omar Ahmad, Governor of Sulaimaniya, the province where Halabja is located reveals that at least 4 people have died in Iraq. He added that dozens were injured in Darbandikhan, Iraq. Reports further indicate that the quake destroyed buildings in Darbandikhan.
Authorities advise caution
In an advisory issued to citizens on TV, Iraq's Meteorological Organization urged citizens to stay away from buildings and not use elevators. According to an official statement, the situation is being closely followed by Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi.