Quake leaves trail of death and destruction in Iraq
DARBANDIKHAN, Iraq: Nizar Abdullah spent the night sifting through the ruins of the two-storey house next door in the mountainous town of Darbandikhan in Iraqi Kurdistan after a killer quake hit the region.
“There were eight people inside,” Abdullah, an Iraqi Kurd, said on Monday, outside the pile of concrete debris where the house once stood.
Some family members managed to escape, but “neighbours and rescue workers pulled out the mother and one of the children dead from the rubble”, said the 34-yearold. The 7.3-magnitude quake hit on the Iraq-Iran border area on Sunday night, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands of others.
Iran took the brunt of it, with at least 336 people killed and 3,950 injured, while in Iraq the quake claimed eight lives and injured 535 others, officials from both countries said.
The quake hit a border area 30 km southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9:20 pm, the US Geological Survey said. Most people were at home when the quake struck.
“All at once the electricity went out and I felt a strong tremor,” said Loqman Hussein.
“I immediately ran out of the house with my family,” he added.
Akram Wali, 50, said many families in Darbandikhan sought shelter with relatives outside of the town.
They fled as authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan called on the population in the southern area of the town to leave their homes, fearing that the Darbandikhan dam would burst.
The dam, which spans the Diyala River, is located in Sulaimaniyah province, where seven people were killed, including four in Darbandikhan. One person died in Diyala province.
Authorities in the Darbandikhan region, home to 40,000 people, say the dam has withstood the fury of the quake and did not suffer any major cracks.
A wounded boy is treated in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah.