At least 335 people have been killed and more than 2,500 injured in Iran after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck near the border between Iran and Iraq.
The earthquake was centred about 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja at about 6.20pm UK time on Sunday.
It was 15 miles deep – a shallow depth that can cause broader damage – and was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, as well as in Turkey, Kuwait and Israel.
The tremor killed 328 people and injured more than 2,500 in Iran.
At least seven deaths were reported in neighbouring Iraq with 321 people hurt, authorities said.
The quake triggered landslides in the mountainous region along the Iran-Iraq border, also destroying buildings, shattering windows and sending people running for safety.
TV reports indicate that more than half the Iranian casualties are from the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, and the district of Ezgeleh, which have a combined population of 30,000. The area, about ten miles from the border with Iraq, is in the Kermanshah province.
Its governor told state TV: “There are still people under the rubble.
“We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will rise”.
At least three emergency relief camps have been set up after the only hospital in Sarpol-e-Zahab was badly damaged in the quake.
Head of emergency medical services Pirhossein Koulivand said it was “difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off – there have been landslides”.
There have also been a number of aftershocks felt and electricity has been cut in several Iranian and Iraqi cities.
Nevertheless, dozens of rescue teams are searching for survivors in larger towns and Red Cross teams are on their way.