Iran quake toll reaches 422, thousands spend night in open

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According to official tallies, at least 420 Iranians died and over 7,370 others were injured after the quake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, whose epicenter was near Halabjah, southeast of Iraq's Sulaymaniyah, left massive damages in the Iranian border province.

The 7.3-magnitude natural disaster struck villages and towns in the mountainous area of Kermanshah province that borders Iraq. President Hassan Rouhani is due to visit the region on Tuesday. It struck about 30 km south of the Iraqi town Darbandikhan, near the north-eastern border with Iran.

Meantime, five groups of injured people were transferred to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Monday to receive further treatments. Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, authorities said, and several villages were completely wiped from the map. Many whose homes were still intact were frightened of returning because of dozens of aftershocks.

Today, residents who had fled their homes awoke from a second night in the cold outdoors as authorities struggled to get aid into the quake zone.

"People in some villages are still in dire need of food, water and shelter", said Faramarz Akbari, a local elected official from Kermanshah province.

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The Iranian Red Crescent said many areas lacked water and electricity and that aid supplies were being hampered by blocked roads.

Also, 40 ambulances, 55 4WD vehicles, 9 rescue vehicles, and 5 helicopters have been dispatched by Relief and Rescue Organisation of the Iranian Red Crescent Society from the first hours of the morning for assistance.

About 30 Red Crescent teams were working in the quake zone.

In a statement, the Iranian government expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims and declared Tuesday as a day of mourning across the country.

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