TEHERAN • Iranian rescue workers were digging through rubble in a frantic hunt for survivors yesterday after the deadliest earthquake of the year struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing more than 400 people and injuring thousands.
The 7.3-magnitude quake hit a border area 30km south-west of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan, at around 9.20pm on Sunday, when many people would have been at home, the US Geological Survey said.
More than 300 of the victims were in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Iran's Kermanshah province, about 15km from the Iraq border. The quake also triggered landslides that hindered rescue efforts.
Local officials said the death toll of 407 people would rise as search-and-rescue teams reached remote areas of Iran. Across the border in Iraq, the Health Ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured.
The Iranian seismological centre registered around 153 aftershocks, and said more were expected.
More than 70,000 people needed emergency shelter, said the head of the Iranian Red Crescent.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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