The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at around 09:18 pm local time on Sunday (0010 GMT on Monday), was 32 kilometers south of the Iraqi city of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan, and just across the border from Iran, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
But the highest casualties occurred in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, in Iran’s Kermanshah Province.
The Legal Medical Organization of Kermanshah has confirmed that it received 207 bodies until Monday morning.
According to the National Disaster Management Organization of Iran, as many as 1,700 people have been injured.
The organization says power cuts have been reported in Kermanshah Province. A number of villages in western Iran have also seen destruction of varying degrees.
Iran leader orders swift rescue operations
Soon after the quake occurred, Iran leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a message calling on all Iranian officials and institutions to “rush to the aid of those affected in these early hours [after the incident].”
The Leader said the country’s entire range of capabilities had to be used swiftly to prevent a further rise in the death toll.
Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iran’s Armed Forces to help with removing the rubble and transferring the injured to medical centers.
Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on the phone with Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli on Sunday night, who briefed the president on the latest updates. President Rouhani then issued the necessary directives to facilitate and accelerate rescue operations.
Turkey offers to support to victims of earthquake
Turkey pledged its support to the victims of Sunday’s earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Monday.
“Turkey stands with the brotherly victims of the earthquake,” he said in a statement.
The prime minister said the government had sent a convoy of medical and food aid and wished speedy recovery to those affected.
AFAD and Turkish Red Crescent rushes to help Iraq earthquake victims
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said a total of 3,000 tents, 3,000 blankets and a food rig were sent by the Turkish Red Crescent to Iraq's north "immediately".
He also added that 4,000 more blankets from Turkey's southeastern provinces Mus and Diyarbakir were directed to the Habur border gate.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement at offered condolences to Iraq and said Turkey is 'ready to help' with aid agencies AFAD (Turkey's Disaster Management Agency) and Kizilay (Turkish Red Crescent).
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also wrote on Twitter: "Turkey stands ready to provide search and rescue teams & send humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Iraq. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Iraqi brothers and sisters."
Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag told local broadcaster 24 TV that a paramedic team and rescue teams would be dispatched to the disaster area “by a military cargo plane in a few hours”.
Another team has been en route from Silopi district of Turkey’s Sirnak province to take tents to the area, Akdag added.
AFAD's 30-men rescue team has reached Habur border gate to help quake-victims, the disaster management agency said to Anadolu Agency.
Turkish Health Minister Ahmet Demircan has offered assistance to northern Iraq.
A total of 316 members of the National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) and emergency response teams are ready to aid northern Iraq, Turkish Health Minister Ahmet Demircan told Anadolu Agency.
“We have made arrangements and we are ready to offer assistance to northern Iraq, in case of a demand for aid,” he said, adding Turkey was attempting contact northern Iraq.
The health minister also said that a total of 40 ambulances were also ready to help, with 4,200 sickbeds and 217 intense care units are organized in various Turkish hospitals in case.
Turkish Red Crescent head Kerem Kinik also told Anadolu Agency that a team in Erbil are at the earthquake-hit region.
Turkey was the first country to help Iraqi victims right after the earthquake happened.
Mourning declared in Iran
Three days of mourning have been announced in Kermanshah.
The earthquake was felt in cities in several other Iranian Provinces, including as far away as in the capital, Tehran.
The quake also shook the Iranian provinces of Kordestan, Ilam, Khuzestan, Hamedan, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Lorestan, Qazvin, Zanjan, and Qom.
The quake was also felt in other regional countries, including Turkey, Kuwait, Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain.
But the casualties and damage were limited to Iran and Iraq.
Reports said 11 people had been killed in Iraq. Some 130 Iraqis were also injured.
In Iraq, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan, 75 kilometers east of the city of Sulaymaniyah, in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
According to Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed, over 30 people were wounded in the town. “The situation there is very critical,” he said.
Source: Anadolu Agency & Press TV