A devastating earthquake which struck eastern Iraq and western Iran on Sunday evening has claimed the lives of at least 445 people and injured over 7,000, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported on Monday.
According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), the earthquake consisted of two seismic events one after another; the first had a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale, the second measured 7.3.
Horrible scenes of earthquake at superstore in #Iraq— mostafa.mohamadi (@MostafaMe4) 13 ноября 2017 г.
The most disastrous 7.3 #earthquakes wrought havoc in the border areas of #Iran & Iraq,death toll beyond 328 hundred wounded.#Iran #Earthquake #Kermanshah #Sar_pol_Zahab #كرمانشاه #زلزال #زلزلهکرمانشاه#كرمانشاه #سرپلذهاب pic.twitter.com/z2ebHmucCW
The worst-affected region of Iran was Kermanshah Province. The earthquake's epicenter was located 32km to the north of the town of Sarpol-e Zahab. In affected areas, field hospitals have been set up to provide people with the necessary food, warm clothes and fuel. The governor of Kermanshah has declared a three-day period of mourning for the victims of the earthquake.
Madjid, a survivor of the disaster, told Sputnik Iran how his life changed in an instant.
"After work, I sat on the couch and then suddenly felt it began to move underneath me. I thought that it just seemed that way to me, but when I looked at the ceiling, I saw the chandelier swinging," Madjid recalled.
"I quickly jumped out of the room and heard the neighbors screaming; they had run out of their house. I took my five-year-old daughter in my arms, and my wife and I went down the stairs. The earthquake was so strong that it was difficult to walk on some of the stairs."
Shabnam, a student at Kermanshah University, is from Sarpol-e Zahab. When the earthquake happened, he immediately phoned relatives to check they were safe.
"I quickly called my family in Sarpol-e-Zahab. After several attempts, I managed to get through and talk with my family. Fortunately, they were not at home when the earthquake happened," Shabnam said.
"They said they saw with their own eyes how two houses collapsed," he added.
Mohammed is also from Sarpol-e-Zahab, and now lives in Kermanshah. He was at a lecture at the time of the earthquake. He told Sputnik that he has been trying to call his friend in Sarpol-e-Zahab, to no avail.
"We were in the auditorium, suddenly everything began to shake. It was shaking so hard that the TV and figurines on the table fell to the floor. We heard loud screams all around, I tried to quickly get out of the room. Everybody was gathered in a panic in the street, and we learned that an earthquake occurred in the west of Iran," Mohammed said.