At least six dead and 150 injured as 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Iraq
At least six people have reportedly died and around 150 have been injured following a major earthquake in parts of Iraq this evening.
The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Iraq and western Iran, according to an initial assessment reported by Iranian state television.
Health officials said most of the wounded were in Darbandikhan, 75 kilometres (47 miles) east of the major city of Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
The district’s main hospital was severely damaged and had no power, Kurdistan Regional Government’s Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed said.
The injured are being taken to Sulaimaniyah for treatment.
So far, four people have been confirmed dead in Darbandikhan and another two in Kalar – 45 miles away.
The US Geological Survey said: ‘significant casualties and damage are likely’.
The tremors were felt across the Middle East, including Israel and Turkey.
The quake struck the mountainous area of Sulaimaniyah province at around 9.18 pm (6.18pm GMT) at a depth of 21 miles, the monitor said.
In the province of Sulaimaniyah, located in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, residents ran out onto the streets at the time of the quake and some minor property damage was recorded.
Majida Ameer, who ran out of her building in the capital’s Salihiya district with her three children, said: ‘I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air.
‘I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming “Earthquake!”.’
More to follow.
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