IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani pledged Tuesday his government would quickly help to rebuild areas affected by a deadly earthquake, as the country observed an official day of mourning for the victims.
Rouhani spoke during a visit to Kermanshah, which was hit the hardest by Sunday’s magnitude 7.3 quake along the Iran-Iraq border.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said at least 430 people were reported dead and 7,000 others injured. Many of the victims were in Sarpol-e-Zahab in Iran’s Kermanshah province. Iraq’s Interior Ministry put the death toll there at seven people with 500 injured.
The United States Geological Survey said quake was centered near the town of Halabja in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and was felt as far away as Turkey and Israel.
People fled their homes when the earthquake hit and many have spent the nights since either in relief camps or outside in the cold as numerous aftershocks hit the region.
The World Health Organization has sent an emergency response team, including ambulances and surgical kits, while rescue teams dug through the remains of collapsed houses and used body-sniffing dogs to look for victims.
Iran sits on several major fault lines and its history is filled with numerous deadly earthquakes.
A 2003 quake in the southern city of Bam killed at least 26,000 people, while a 2012 quake in East Azerbaijan province killed more than 300, VOA reported.