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November 20, 2017

Iran-Iraq border earthquake is deadliest of 2017

Rescue teams in Iran are looking for people in collapsed buildings. AGENCIES
Rescue teams in Iran are looking for people in collapsed buildings. AGENCIES

A huge rescue effort is under way after a powerful earthquake struck Iran's mountainous border with Iraq, killing more than 400 people and injuring more than 7,000.

Teams are looking for survivors trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The quake is the deadliest in the world this year.

Most people who died were in western Iran in Sarpol-e-Zahab, a town 15km (10 miles) from the border, and other parts of Kermanshah province.

The town's main hospital was severely damaged, leaving it struggling to treat hundreds of wounded people, state TV reported.

A woman and her baby were pulled alive from rubble in the town, Iranian media said.

Many buildings in the town appear to have collapsed, amateur video posted to Twitter by a radio station showed.

Running water and electricity cut out in some cities, and after buildings collapsed people were forced to spend hours outdoors in parks or streets in cold weather.

Many homes in the predominantly Kurdish mountainous area are made of mud bricks and are vulnerable in quakes as large as Sunday's.

"We need shelter," a man in Sarpol-e Zahab told state TV. "Where is the aid? Where is the help?"

One aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter after the quake, and there were reports that thousands of people were facing a second night in the cold as dusk fell.

The UN said it was "ready to assist if required" in a statement from a spokesman for the secretary-general.

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