(Iran-Iraq quake) Rescuers dig through rubble in devastated village

World | 14 Nov 2017 7:32 pm

Rescuers today used backhoes and heavy equipment to dig through the debris of buildings toppled by a powerful earthquake on the border between Iran and Iraq.

The grim work began in earnest again at dawn in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab (pictured), in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which appears to be the hardest hit in the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Sunday night.

Both rescuers and local residents alike stood atop the remains of apartment complexes, looking through the rubble. They used heavy blankets to carry away corpses.

The hospital in Sarpol-e-Zahab was heavily damaged, and the army set up field hospitals, although many of the injured were moved to other cities, including Tehran.

The quake also damaged an army garrison and buildings in the border city and killed an unspecified number of soldiers, according to reports.

There are fears more dead could be in the rubble in Sarpol-e-Zahab and other rural villages of Kermanshah province. Mohammad Ali Monshizadeh, a spokesman for the provincial forensic department, said possibly as many as 150 people were buried by family members after the earthquake in remote villages who had not been counted in the official death toll, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Iran’s Red Crescent also said it worried about more bodies in rural villages, though it said the rescue operations in larger towns could end soon.-AP

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