Iraq-Iran Earthquake Death Toll Rises to 530, Officials Say

November 14, 2017

Rescuers continued to search debris two days after a major 7.3 magnitude earthquake rocked the Iraq and Iran border region, killing at least 530 people and injuring nearly 7,500 more.

It was the deadliest earthquake in the world this year, surpassing a 7.1 magnitude tremor in Mexico that killed more than 350 people on Sept. 19.

In this photo provided by the Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, a car lays smashed by debris from the earthquake at the city of Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.
(Pouria Pakizeh/ISNA via AP)

The earthquake struck at 9:18 p.m. Iraq local time (1:18 p.m. EST) Sunday night, causing panic among residents as well as structural damage, the Associated Press reported. The quake was centered 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. More than 100 aftershocks were felt following the temblor.

"I think it was only God that saved us," Amina Mohammed, who survived the earthquake with her sons as their home collapsed in Darbandikhan, Iraq, told the AP. "I screamed to God and it must have been him to stop the stairs from entirely collapsing on us."

(MORE: 6.5 Magnitude Earthquake Reported Near Costa Rica)

During the quake, people abandoned their homes to run into the streets, reported.

"Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed," Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife who lives in Sarpol-e Zahab, Iran, told the AP. "I have no access to my belongings."

Posts on social media showed damaged buildings in areas impacted by the quake.

The temblor was also felt in Baghdad, where cars came to a standstill, Al Jazeera reported.

"Baghdad is not prone to earthquakes, so when people began to come outside, the shock was visible on the face," Al Jazeera correspondent Imran Khan reported from the city. "For the first few seconds, I actually thought an explosion had taken place, but as it carried on - for up to a minute - I realized it was an earthquake."

Iranian news agency ILNA reported at least 14 provinces were affected by the quake, according to the AP.

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