More than 407 people were killed and at least 6000 were injured in Iran on Sunday when a powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit the country, state media said, as rescuers stepped up efforts overnight to find dozens trapped under rubble.
A damaged storefront is seen after an earthquake in Halabja, Iraq, November 12, 2017. (Photo courtesy: Osama Golpy/Rudaw via Reuters)
Darbandhikhan & Halabja, 2 Iraqi Kurdish towns bordering Iran were the centre of tonight's 7.2 magnitude that shook parts of Middle East.— Dâna Nawzar (@DanaNawzar) November 12, 2017
News of 6 dead in Iranian Kurdish towns and 2 dead in Iraqi Kurdish towns. The number are very likely to increase .
Video from Darbandikhan pic.twitter.com/Xtu9jEfPsR
An earthquake victim is aided at Sulaimaniyah Hospital on November 12, 2017, in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq. (AFP)
Many residents in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, rushed out of houses and tall buildings in panic.
“I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” said Majida Ameer, who ran out of her building in the capital’s Salihiya district with her three children. “I thought at first that it was a huge bomb.But then I heard everyone around me screaming: ‘Earthquake!’“
There were similar scenes in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, and across other cities in northern Iraq, close to the quake’s epicentre.
Iraq’s meteorology centre advised people to stay away from buildings and not to use elevators, in case of aftershocks.