Iran Announces Public Mourning as Quake Death Toll Rises to 445

The Iranian cabinet on Monday announced Tuesday as a public mourning day after the number of people killed in an earthquake that struck the country’s western province of Kermanshah has risen to 445.

According to official tallies, 445 Iranians were confirmed dead as of Monday evening and over 7,156 others were also injured after the quake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, whose epicenter was near Halabjah, southeast of Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah, left massive damages in the Iranian border province.

In a statement, the Iranian government expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims and declared Tuesday as the day of mourning across the country.

The province of Kermanshah had earlier declared three days of mourning, as rescue teams from across the country have hurried to dig out survivors stuck under the rubble and save the wounded.

Iran’s Red Crescent Society officials announced on Monday evening that the rescue operations in Kermanshah will be completed in coming hours.

Kermanshah’s provincial officials also said that about 12,000 houses both in urban and rural regions across the province have been totally damaged due to the strong earthquake.

One of the cities hit hardly by the massive quake is Sarpol-e Zahab. Witnesses say they were appalled to see the city skyline on Monday, saying half of the buildings seem to have been destroyed.

Sarpol-e Zahab is receiving more rescue team and sniffer dogs searching for survivors buried under the rubble.

Iranian medical officials announced that 5 field hospitals have been set up in the quake-hit areas.

Meantime, five groups of injured people have been transferred to the Iranian capital, Tehran, by Monday evening to receive further treatments.

In a message on Monday morning, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei ordered all Iranian officials to rush to help the large number of people affected by the earthquake, and particularly rescue those trapped under rubble in the very first hours after the disaster.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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