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Italy to offer earthquake aid to Iran, Iraq

IANS | Rome |

The Italian government is ready to aid the victims of the powerful tremor that killed over 400 people, injured thousands and left tens of thousands homeless on the border between Iran and Iraq, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has tweeted.

“Hundreds of victims of the earthquake in Iran and Iraq. Italy is close those affected and ready to help the affected countries,” read Gentiloni’s tweet on Monday.

The magnitude 7.3 quake struck about 30 kmsouthwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) news agency raised the death toll in the Sunday night earthquake to 407, making it the deadliest earthquake of 2017. At least 6,650 people were injured in the quake which occurred at a depth of 33.9 km, Press TV reported.

At least 70,000 people needed shelter after the quake, one of the largest this year, according to one Iranian aid agency cited by the BBC.

About 1.8 million people live within 100 km of the epicentre, the UN estimates.

On the Iraqi side, the most extensive damage was reported in the town of Darbandikhan in the Kurdistan Region.

Many homes in the predominantly Kurdish mountainous area are made of mud bricks and risk collapsing during major earthquakes like Sunday’s.