Aid to survivors following the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck the border region separating northern Iraq and western Iran on November 12 has been slow and compounded by cold weather. Meanwhile, thousands of people have been left homeless and in need of food, water, and shelter. The death toll has risen to at least 530 in Iran and ten in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan as of November 15. Thousands more are reportedly injured in Iran, and hundreds in Iraq.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located near Ezgeleh, Iran, along the Iraqi border. Kermanshah province in Iran has seen the highest number of causalities. Minor tremors were felt as far away as Israel, Diyarbakir (Turkey), Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Some 30,000 houses and several entire villages were completely destroyed, according to Iranian authorities. Tens of thousands of survivors in affected regions of Iran have gathered in makeshift camps or have been sleeping out in the open in the cold due to fears of powerful aftershocks; more than 200 aftershocks of various intensity have already been reported. Localized power outages have been reported in especially hard-hit areas.
The Iraqi government has allowed international flights to resume and border crossings to reopen in Iraqi Kurdistan to allow for humanitarian aid to reach the region. Baghdad, along with neighboring countries, had closed Kurdistan's international borders and banned international flights to and from the region following the Kurdistan referendum on independence on September 25.
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 and 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.