Latest: At least 61 dead as 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Iran-Iraq border area

Latest: At least 61 dead as 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Iran-Iraq border area

Update 11.40pm: At least 61 people have died in Iran after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit near the Iran-Iraq border region, officials said.

Deputy governor Mojtaba Nikkerdar of Iran's Kermanshah province also said more than 300 people were injured.

Iranian TV said Iraqi officials have reported at least six people dead on Iraq's side of the border after Sunday's quake.

It said the officials also reported more than 50 people were injured in Iraq's Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 were hurt in Khanaquin city.

There has been no official report from Iraq's government.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred about 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.

Iran's semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency said at least 14 Iranian provinces were affected.

Earlier: A 7.2-magnitude earthquake has jolted the region near the border between Iran and Iraq, Iranian state TV said.

The US Geological Survey confirmed the quake on its website, placing its epicentre at about 19 miles outside the Iraqi city of Halabja, and issuing an "orange" alert for "shaking-related fatalities and economic losses".

Iranian provinces in the north-western, western and central areas of the country were affected.

Iranian social media was abuzz with posts of people evacuating their homes, especially from the cities of Ghasr-e Shirin near the Iraqi border, and Kermanshah.

Faramarz Akbari, Ghasr-e Shirin's governor, said that six people had died and scores more were injured, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Esmail Najar, head of Iran's National Disaster Management Organisation, said "some injured people might be buried under the rubble in Ghasr-e Shirin".

Iran is prone to quakes as it sits on many major fault lines.

In 2003, a 6.6 magnitude flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

AP


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