Toll in Iran-Iraq natural disaster rises to 530

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Rescue operations have ended in areas of Iran hit by a powerful weekend natural disaster that killed at least 530 people and injured more than 8000, as many survivors, in need of food and water, battled the cold.

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. Numerous villages affected by quake were very remote and hard to reach, said Bagheri.

State television says thousands have been huddling in makeshift camps while many others spent a second night in the open for fear of more tremorsafter around 193 aftershocks.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif thanked foreign countries offering to help but wrote on Twitter: "For now, we are able to manage with our own resources".

"People in some villages are still in dire need of food, water and shelter", said the governor of Qasr-e Shirin county in Kermanshah province, Faramarz Akbari. "Please help us. I plead with the people of Iran for help", he said.

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

He said that the government will take all efforts to solve the problems in the region in the shortest possible time and will help the affected people rebuild their dwellings.

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While visiting the region on Tuesday, a national day of mourning, President Hassan Rouhani pointed out that many privately-built homes appeared to have been spared damage.

The most extensive damage in Iraq occurred in the town of Darbandikhan in the country's Kurdish region.

"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".

"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.

I was informed with a deep sorrow about dozens of casualties and destructions caused by the devastating quake in the Iranian province of Kermanshah.

About 30 Red Crescent teams are working in the quake zone, Irna reported.

The temblor hit about 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and struck 14.4 miles below the surface, a somewhat shallow depth that can cause broader damage. Tremors were felt throughout the Middle East, including in Israel.

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