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.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.