Quake leaves trail of death and de­struc­tion in Iraq

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

— Reuters

A wounded boy is treated in Sar­pol-e Za­hab county in Ker­man­shah.

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