Deadly earthquake in Iran-Iraq border kills more than 400 and injured thousands

A huge rescue effort is under way after a deadly earthquake struck Iran’s mountainous border with Iraq on Sunday, killing more than 400 people and injuring more than 7,000.

The Islamic Republic News Agency in Iran said the earthquake killed 430 people and injured at least 7,100.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry confirmed that seven people in the neighbouring country were killed by the earthquake, with 535 people wounded.

Other reports put the death toll in Iran at more than 450.

Running water and electricity cut out in some cities, and after buildings collapsed, people were forced to spend hours outdoors in parks or streets in cold weather.

Many homes in the predominantly Kurdish mountainous areas are made of mud bricks and are vulnerable in quakes as large as Sunday’s.

One aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter after the quake, and there were reports that thousands of people were facing a second night in the cold as dusk fell.

The UN said it was “ready to assist if required” in a statement from a spokesman for the secretary-general.

Landslides have made it harder for rescuers to reach those affected in rural areas, and there are fears a dam could burst after it was damaged by the earthquake.

People living nearby have reportedly been asked to leave.

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent said more than 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter.

Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton in England, said that in a region where earthquakes are common, Sunday’s quake appeared to be “the largest in a long time.”

The quake also damaged the dam holding back the Diyala River near Darbandikhan in Iraq.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the damage would impact power production.

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