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Officials raise Iran-Iraq natural disaster death toll to 530

Officials raise Iran-Iraq natural disaster death toll to 530

The government is scrambling to get aid to the worst-hit Kermanshah province, where hundreds of homes were destroyed. For 20 seconds the echoes of the natural disaster felt and residents of Baghdad.

"I found myself responsible to take a step, however small, to help my countrymen by selling my medal", Rostami said.

Rouhani said all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up after the Islamic revolution of 1979 that are major players in the Iranian economy.

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water", he said.

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"Newly constructed buildings... Held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed", he told state television as he visited the affected region. Numerous villages affected by quake were very remote and hard to reach, said Bagheri. Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, authorities said, and several villages were completely wiped from the map.

The quake struck about 30 km south of the Iraqi town Darbandikhan, near the north-eastern border with Iran. Iraq's Red Crescent put the toll at nine dead. Iranian aid officials say thousands of people do now have emergency shelter, but many thousands more do not.

"On behalf of the Armenian government and personally myself I would like to extend our deepest condolences to you and the good people of Iran expressing our readiness to be involved in rescue operations". "The authorities should speed up their help", she said.

Officials in Iran declared Tuesday as a national day of mourning and newspapers broke with tradition to publish their front page headlines in the Kurdish language, in a rare move showing solidarity with the majority-Kurdish areas worst affected.

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Footage from Sarpol-e Zahab, an Iranian town of 35,000 close to the Iraqi border, shows entire neighbourhoods reduced to rubble.

At least 280 people were killed in the town, home to some 85,000 people, where crumpled vehicles lay under the rubble of flattened buildings on the streets. But by Tuesday morning Iranian officials said there was no longer any likelihood of finding survivors and called the rescue off.

Red Crescent Relief and Rescue teams from Kurdistan and Markazi provincial branches are providing relief and rescue services in the city of Salase-Babajani, teams from Lorestan to Qasre-Shirin and teams from Hamedan to Sare-Pule-Zahab. Water and electricity are now inaccessible in many areas of the province.

The region has regular earthquakes and last night's struck along a 930-mile fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which runs through western Iran and into Iraq's northeast.

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