Devastating news closed off the weekend in the Middle East as a 7.3 earthquake struck the border between Iraq and Iran on Sunday evening. The earthquake which is considered the deadliest of 2017, was felt as far as the neighbouring countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. The series of tremors began at approximately 9 pm (18:18 GMT) local time on Sunday and continued until 12 pm local time on Monday. As the region is prone to earthquakes, there is no guarantee if the tremors have officially stopped.
Iran's state news service, IRNA, reports that at least 407 people have been killed, which were primarily Iranians and 6,700 are injured. Iraq's interior minister claims that at least seven people were killed in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah, and at least 300 are injured. So far, no injuries or fatalities have been reported in the surrounding nations.
The town of Darbandikhan, south of Sulamaniyah was the most affected. Electricity from several cities has also shut down. IRNA has sent 30 Red Cross Teams to the destruction area to provide emergency shelters for more than 70,000 people. Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency has also offered help, providing 4,000 tents and 7,000 blankets for the victims.
Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt prayers go out to the many families whose lives have been shattered by this terrible catastrophe.
By: Franz Tabora