Iran earthquake death toll rises to 530

Tens of thousands left without shelter as relief efforts try to provide shelter and food to survivors

Iran’s state-run news agency said Tuesday the country’s death toll from powerful earthquake on Iran-Iraq border had risen to 530.

Over 6,700 people were injured after the 7.3-magnitude quake struck near the border with Iraq, killing more than 400.

Tens of thousands have been left without shelter.

People who had fled their homes when the quake rocked the mountainous region spanning Iran’s western province of Kermanshah and Iraqi Kurdistan on Sunday evening, braved chilly temperatures as authorities struggled to get aid into the quake zone.

Iran has declared Tuesday a national day of mourning as officials outlined the most pressing priorities and described the levels of destruction in some parts as “total.”

Officials said they were setting up relief camps for the displaced and that 22,000 tents, 52,000 blankets and tons of food and water had been distributed. The official IRNA news agency said 30 Red Crescent teams had been sent to the area.

Hundreds of ambulances and dozens of army helicopters were reported to have joined the rescue effort after Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the government and armed forces to mobilize “all their means.”

Across the border in more sparsely populated areas of Iraq, the health ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured. Iraq’s Red Crescent put the toll at nine dead.

The quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 23 kilometers, was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and for longer in other provinces of Iraq, AFP journalists said.

It struck along a 1,500-kilometer (930 mile) fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which extends through western Iran and northeastern Iraq. It was mildly felt in some high-rise buildings in Israel.

The area sees frequent seismic activity.

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