The death toll following the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck the border region separating northern Iraq and western Iran on Sunday night, November 12, has risen to 328 in Iran and seven in Iraqi Kurdistan. Another 2530 individuals are reportedly injured in Iran, and 321 in Iraq. The casualty toll is expected to rise as emergency rescue teams begin to reach more remote areas. Landslides have also been reported, hindering rescue efforts. Significant infrastructural damage is expected in the affected areas and localized power outages have been reported in both Iran and Iraq. According to the Iranian Red Crescent, more than 70,000 people are in need of emergency shelter.
Over 100 aftershocks have been reported and continued aftershocks are to be anticipated.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located 30 km (20 mi) southwest of Halabja, the capital of Iraq's Halabja province. In Iran, the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, located 15 km (10 mi) from the Iraqi border, saw a huge number of causalities. Minor tremors were felt as far away as Israel, Diyarbakir (Turkey), Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Iran and Iraq are located in a highly active seismic zone and earthquakes are common.
Individuals present in the impacted region are advised to monitor the situation, to be prepared for aftershocks, and to heed to any instructions issued by local authorities.
In the event of aftershocks, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), to move away from windows, and to not attempt to leave the building unless there is an immediate danger or on the ground flood. If outdoors, move away from tall buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.
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