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At Least 140 Reported Dead in Iran-Iraq Border Region Quake

  • VOA News

A damaged storefront is seen after an earthquake in Halabja, Iraq, Nov. 12, 2017. Twitter - Osama Golpy/Rudaw/Social Media/via Reuters

Rescue teams are working through the night looking for survivors after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook towns and villages near the Iran-Iraq border.

Iranian state television reports more than 140 deaths and more than 800 injured. The Baghdad government did not immediately give word on damage or casualties in that country.

The quake struck Sunday night outside the eastern Iraqi Kurdistan city of Halabja, very close to the Iranian border. It was felt as far away as Turkey and Israel.

The initial jolt was followed by a 5.3 aftershock, sending panicked villagers fleeing from their homes into the cold and dark streets. More than 50 aftershocks have followed.

The quake cut power and telephone service to several Iranian and Iraqi towns, making rescue efforts even more difficult.

Officials point out that many homes in rural villages are made of mud and brick, leaving them extremely vulnerable when the ground shakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Sunday's quake was along a 1,500 kilometer long fault line that runs through Iran and Iraq.

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