Tasnim and Mehr news agencies say at least 348 people have been killed and emergency services report that the number of those injured could reach as high as 6,000 in a devastating earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border.
Iran’s Interior Ministry said earlier on November 13 that most of the casualties were in Kermanshah Province, with residents reporting feeling the 7.3 magnitude quake throughout the region, from Turkey to Kuwait.
The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered 19 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of the city of Halabja in northeastern Iraq at a depth of 33.9 kilometers (21 miles).
Tehran University’s seismological center said the temblor hit at 9:48 p.m. local time (1818 GMT) on November 12.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted officials as warning that the casualty toll was expected to rise as emergency workers began work at first light on November 13.
As rescue work continues, IRNA reports that badly damaged areas face shortages of medication and equipment.
A member of parliament told reporters that some of the newly built hospitals in the area have been destroyed in the earthquake. Similar reports speak of more severe damage to public housing built in the last ten years.
In Iraq, Kurdish health officials said at least six people were killed and at least 68 injured. Iraq’s health and local officials said the worst-hit area was Darbandikham district, near the border with Iran, where at least 10 houses had collapsed and the district’s only hospital was severely damaged.