2017’s Deadliest Earthquake Strikes Iran-Iraq Border Region
On Sunday, Nov. 12, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake caused untold destruction in the border region between Iran and Iraq, killing between 530 and 580 and injuring a reported 9,400. It is the deadliest earthquake in 2017 to date. An estimated 70,000 people are also in need of shelter following the destruction.
Rescue efforts have been difficult, as it is a mountainous region and much of the widespread damage is due to the fact that most homes in the region are made from mud bricks not built to withstand a quake. Landslides as a result of the shaking have also impeded efforts.
With the primary treating hospital in Sarpol-e Zahab damaged and another in the Kermananshah province forced to close, the World Health Organization (WHO) has airlifted trauma kits and medical supplies to the region, enough to provide surgical care for up to 4,000 trauma patients. Additional kits are on standby, to be delivered to area hospitals reporting shortages. With many displaced people sleeping outside in temperatures that can drop below freezing overnight, WHO is also placing special emphasis on specific health needs as a result of the colder temperatures.
The earthquake was felt as far away as Israel, Kuwait, and Turkey, and the threat may not be over. As the cause – the Arabian plate moving northward and sliding against the Eurasian plate – is expected to create more quakes in the future.