11/14/2017, 10.27
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Toll of earthquake victims rises, thousands in the cold. The Pope's condolences

Prayers for the victims and those who have lost their loved ones. "Consolation and strength" to the authorities involved in rescue operations. In Iran, there are over 450 dead and 7,000 injured. Thousands spent the night in the frost.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Pope has expressed "deep sadness" for the victims of the earthquake that caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injured on the border between Iraq and Iran two days ago. Thousands of Iranians spent the second night in cold autumn temperatures. Meanwhile, the number of victims continues to rise: there are now more than 450 dead and 7,000 injured. The number of wounded and dead has also risen in nearby Iraq.

Through a message sent to both Iran and Iraq by Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin, the pontiff, "in expressing his sorrow to all who mourn the loss of their loved ones, he offers his prayers for the deceased and commends them to the mercy of the Almighty.  Upon the injured and the emergency and civil authorities engaged in rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.”

The Iranian government is struggling to help the most affected areas in the mountainous province of Kermanshah, where hundreds of homes have been destroyed. The main local hospital was hit hard, making it difficult to treat the injured. The Iranian state television reports that thousands spent the night in improvised shelters. Some have stayed out of their homes despite being intact because they are worried about any afteshocks.  

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, leader of Islamic Revolutionary Guards (Irgc), argues that the immediate needs are tents, water and food. The Iranian Red Crescent warns that there are 70,000 people in need of help, and that many areas are devoid of water and electricity, while aid is complicated by blocked roads. Army helicopters are currently being used to intervene in support of the affected population.

The authorities say more than 30,000 homes have been damaged and at least two villages have been completely destroyed. Today, in the Islamic Republic, a national day of mourning has been announced.

The earthquake was felt throughout the region, but the damage was limited to Iran and Iraq. According to Kurdish sources, six people were killed and 68 injured in Iraq, while in the northern districts of Iraqi Kurdistan, seven died and 325 were wounded. In the country, the most affected area is the Darbandikham district, bordering on Iran: 10 houses collapsed and the only district hospital was seriously damaged, leaving no electricity.

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