7.2-magnitude quake jolts Iran-Iraq border area; structural damage reported


A powerful quake has struck large parts of northern Iraq and the capital Baghdad, also causing damage in a number of villages across the border in Iran where local media said at least six people had been killed.

Following initial reports of Sunday's devastating. quake, Kurdistan Regional Government Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani tweeted, "A real natural disaster has just added to the political, security, humanitarian and economic earthquakes to have hit Kurdistan & Iraq".

Eight villages were damaged in Iran from the quake, state television reported.

Iranian social media was abuzz with area people evacuating their homes. Extensive damage has also been reported in countless villages, which have also seen telecommunication and power outages.

On its website, the USGS placed the quake's epicenter at about 19 miles south-southwest of the Iraqi city of Halabja.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties. "But then I heard everyone around me screaming 'Earthquake!'" Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud bricks and are known to crumble easily in quake-prone Iran.

At least four people died and dozens were wounded in Iraq, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government's Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed.

It struck the area of Azgaleh in Kermanshah province at around 21:48 local time on Sunday.