A powerful earthquake hit the mountainous Iran-Iraq border on 12 November, at 21:18 local time. Reaching a magnitude of 7.3, the epicentre was approximately 30km outside the Kurdish city Halabja, in Northern Iraq. More than 400 people have been killed and 7,000 injured in the devastating quake, making it the world’s deadliest this year. One aid agency has also estimated that 70,000 people are now in need of shelter following the event.
The Kermanshah province in Western Iran has been hardest hit, with the majority of fatalities in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab. However, there have also been deaths in Iraq and more than 500 people have been injured. Landslides are now making rescue efforts increasingly difficult.
Our NPI Iraq team in the field, as well as the families we are working with, are all safe and accounted for. However, as our specialists are in the region, we are monitoring the rescue response closely and assessing the situation on a day-by-day basis. Our connection with neighbouring aid agencies in the area means that, should our services be required, we will be able to assist with infant feeding support quickly, if it becomes necessary.
NPI operates in Khanke and Domiz camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, assisting women and children who have fled war and terror in Syria, and the Mosul and Sinjar regions of Iraq training health workers on lactation and malnutrition.