Donald Trump silent on deadly Iran-Iraq earthquake 24 hours after it happened, despite posting several Tweets

More than 400 people have been reported dead 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Monday 13 November 2017 20:40
comments
People gather around a levelled building in the mountainous town of Darbandikhan in Iraqi Kurdistan on 13 November 2017, following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake.
People gather around a levelled building in the mountainous town of Darbandikhan in Iraqi Kurdistan on 13 November 2017, following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake.

President Donald Trump has yet to address an earthquake that has killed more than 400 people in Iran and Iraq.

The 7.3 magnitude quake’s epicentre was along the Iran-Iraq border - 19 miles (31 km) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja - but was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast.

Mr Trump’s Twitter account has remained silent on the issue up until now. He has however tweeted several times about his Philippines his trip to meet President Rodrigo Duterte, his new nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the work of Congress on tax reform and Obamacare replacement.

The White House and State Department have not yet responded to a request for comment.

Mr Trump due to leave Manila on Tuesday at end of his 12-day Asia tour and is set to return to the US on 14 November.

Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for the country’s crisis management headquarters, was quoted by the semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies said the number of injured was close to 6,700.

Of the 445 reported dead, at least half were in Iran according to Iranian state television.

Deadly earthquake on Iran-Iraq border disrupts live interview

The Kermanshah province, which is in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq, appears to be the hardest hit region.

Pope Francis sent two messages of prayers and condolences to the victims’ families in Iran and Iraq after the earthquake.

“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,” a statement from the Vatican read.

Despite its contentious relationship with the Kurdish population in Iraq, Turkey sent emergency personnel and aid to northern Iraq following Sunday’s earthquake on the Iraq-Iran border as officials expressed their “deep sadness” at the tragedy.

Kerem Kinik, Turkish Red Crescent’s vice president, told the Associated Press from Habur border gate that 33 aid trucks were en route to Iraq’s city of Sulaimaniyah, carrying 3,000 tents, heaters, 10,000 beds, blankets, as well as food.

The Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement the Turkish people stand with the Iranian and Iraqi people and is prepared to help Iran if requested.

Pakistan issued a statement as well that said the people’s “thoughts and prayers are with the Iranian and Iraqi brothers who lost their lives in this tragic calamity and we pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

Iranian state television reported on Monday morning that many of the casualties are in the city of Sar-Pol-Zahab and the district of Ezgeleh - an area with a population of approximately 30,000.

The only hospital there was reportedly destroyed by the earthquake and makeshift centres have been set up by the military, according to the state media station.

There are currently 5,262 US soldiers are in Iraq, according to the Pentagon but some defence officials' estimates have placed that number as high as 7,000.

Mr Trump has come under fire before for delayed responses to events like devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the four US soldiers’ deaths in Niger.

Last month, the US President announced he would not re-certify a nuclear deal signed by Iran and six world powers - a signature foreign policy achievement by predecessor President Barack Obama.

Despite the evidence provided by the United Nations on Tehran's compliance with the deal, Mr Trump said it was too lenient on Iran and that they had violated portions of it.

It opened the door for harsher economic sanctions to be placed on the country, the mitigation of which was a key inducement for Iran to comply with the historic deal.

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