Devastating tremors in Iran and Iraq: the death toll is growing rapidly

Armenian PM extends condolences to First Vice-President of Iran on devastating earthquake

Armenian PM extends condolences to First Vice-President of Iran on devastating earthquake

The quake hit Azgeleh, but officials said the highest number of casualties were in Iran's Kermanshah province.

"Iran wept", read the front page of Aftab-e-Yazd, over a big photograph of an Iranian woman holding a lost family member in her arms.

Iran's sporting community has always been beside the people during natural calamities such as the 2003 Bam quake in Bam City, Kerman Province, in which more than 26,000 were killed and over 30,000 were injured.

At least 14 provinces in Iran were affected.

The Iranian Army, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the voluntary Basij forces, the Red Crescent and the Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation as well as the ministries of energy, interior affairs, health, and roads and urban development are all providing assistance to the people in need, Rouhani said.

On the Iraq side of the border, 11 people were killed and the most damage was seen in Darbandikhan, near the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

According to the official reports, Power is cut off in the cities of Qasre-Shirin, Gilane-Garb, Kermanshah, Sare-Pule-Zahab in Kermanshah and houses in some western Iranian villages have been severely damaged to various degrees.

More than 316 people were killed in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab alone, about 15km from the Iraqi border.

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At least 7,460 people were injured during the natural disaster, which hit seven big cities and 1,950 villages in the province. But Iranian officials said the chances of finding any more survivors were extremely low.

Iran's Olympic weightlifting champion Kianoush Rostami put his Rio Olympics 2016 gold medal for auction to raise money for the quake-stricken areas.

Hospitals in nearby provinces took in numerous injured, state television said, airing footage of survivors waiting to be treated.

Rouhani extended condolences to the families of victims of the huge quake that claimed the lives of hundreds and injured thousands. "The temperature tonight will drop below freezing and many people will be left outside their homes".

Rescuers used backhoes and other heavy equipment to dig through toppled buildings in Sarpol-e-Zahab, home to more than half of the dead.

Iran is crisscrossed by major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 that reduced the historic southeastern city of Bam to dust and killed some 31,000 people.

Relations between Turkey and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq have been tense since the Kurds held an independence referendum in September.

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