Thousands of Iranians have spent a second night outdoors in bitterly cold temperatures after a devastating earthquake hit the west of the country.

The government is scrambling to get aid to the worst-hit area in the mountainous province of Kermanshah, where hundreds of homes were destroyed.

More than 430 people were killed and about 7,000 injured when the quake hit near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday.
Iran has declared Tuesday a national day of mourning.

President Hassan Rouhani is due to visit the region but international media organisations are not being allowed to visit the quake-hit areas.

Iranian state news agency Irna said 430 people had died in the country. In the more sparsely populated areas across the border in Iraq, nine people died and several hundred were injured.

Mansoureh Bagheri, an Iran-based official with the Red Crescent Society, told the BBC about 12,000 residential buildings had "totally collapsed". She said now that rescue operations had ended, the priority was getting people into shelters as quickly as possible.

Iranian state TV said thousands of survivors had spent another night in makeshift camps or in the open. Many whose homes were still intact were frightened of returning because of dozens of aftershocks.

"It is a very cold night... we need help. We need everything. The authorities should speed up their help," said one homeless young woman in Sarpol-e-Zahab, where most of the victims died.

One aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter and the UN said it was "ready to assist if required".

Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that the immediate needs were tents, water and food.

"Newly constructed buildings... held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed," he told state TV while visiting the affected region.

Source:BBC



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