Wounded people seek treatment at Sulaymaniyah Hospital in northern Iraq after an earth struck the country.

In Summary:

  • The 7.3 tremblor was felt throughout Iraq
  • The earthquake centered about 217 miles from Baghdad

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake which struck the Iraq-Iran border has killed dozens of people on the Iranian side and injured hundreds more, an Iranian official has told state media.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said Sunday’s powerful quake hit close to Halabjah, southeast of Sulaymaniyah, a city in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

The tremor, which was felt as far away as Qatar, struck at 9:18pm local time (18:18) GMT, and its epicentre was at a depth of 33.9km.

Mojtaba Nikkerdar, deputy governor of Kermanshah province in western Iran, told state TV that at least 30 people in different cities were killed and a further 200 were injured by the earthquake.

There were fears the death toll would rise.

Earlier on Sunday, Faramarz Akbari, governor of Iran’s Qasr-e Shirin city, had told Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency that there were at least two fatalities.

He also said that estimating damages is impossible due to a massive power cut.

Powerful tremor

Reports coming from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, sa cars came to a standstill in the city as the buildings began to sway.

“Baghdad is not prone to earthquakes so when people began to come outside, the shock was visible on the faces,” he said.

“For the first few seconds, I actually thought an explosion had taken place, but as it carried on – for up to a minute – I realised it was an earthquake,” he added.

Pictures and footage published on social media showed people seeking safety in the streets of Sulaymaniyah while the interiors of buildings shook.