At least 530 people were killed and over 8,000 others injured in the 7.3 magnitude natural disaster that rattled the border region between Iraq and Iran late on Sunday, according to the latest report of Iran's state news agency.
The quake was centered about 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and struck 14.4 miles (23.2 kilometers) below the surface, a somewhat shallow depth that can cause broader damage.
Thousands of homeless Iranians sought shelter from bitter cold yesterday as President Hassan Rouhani promised swift help after a major quake.
The quake, centred in Penjwin in Iraq's Sulaimaniyah province in the Kurdistan region, killed at least six people in Iraq and injured more than 68. The whole village is ruined. The quake also shook the Iranian provinces of Kordestan, Ilam, Khuzestan, Markazi, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Lorestan, Qazvin, Zanjan, Qom and Tehran.
"It slightly damaged five historical sites including a Safavid-era caravanserai and a Sassanid-era fortress in the counties of Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab and Dalahu in Kermanshah province while assessing the damage is still ongoing", CHTN cited the provincial tourism chief, Jalil Baalai, as saying. Ali Daei, football coach and former player and world record holder for worldwide goalscoring, was among the first to help those in need by starting a campaign in Tehran to gather humanitarian aid for Kermanshah. Officials said 12,000 houses had been completely destroyed and a further 15,000 damaged, Irna reported. "Please help us. I plead with the people of Iran for help", he said.
Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, offered his condolences on Monday to the victims and called on government agencies to do all they could to help.
Seven deaths occurred in Iraq and 535 people were injured, all in the country's northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to its Interior Ministry.
"People are hungry and thirsty", a local man told ISNA news agency. "Last night I cried when I saw children with no food or shelter". Some people are angry that among the collapsed buildings were homes that the government has built in recent years under an affordable housing programme.
Rescuers used backhoes and other heavy equipment to dig through toppled buildings in Sarpol-e-Zahab, home to more than half of the dead.
She said now that rescue operations had ended, the priority was getting people into shelters as quickly as possible, and that the delivery of aid was on track.