8 people killed, hundreds wounded in northern Iraq by huge earthquake
A total of eight people were killed and hundreds others wounded in a huge earthquake that hit Iraq's northern and eastern provinces late on Sunday, health officials told Xinhua on Monday.
Members of the Turkish Red Crescent, who reached the region as a first response, observe a collapsed building in Derbendihan district of Sulaymaniyah, Iraq on November 13, 2017.[Photo: VCG]
The heaviest casualties occurred in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, where seven people were killed and more than 300 others wounded, according to a medical source from the health department of Sulaimaniyah province in northeastern Iraq.
The source said that four of the deaths were killed in the town of Darbandikhan, some 35 km southeast of the city of Sulaimaniyah, and three others in other areas in the Kurdish region, the source said.
In early Monday morning, a team of experts and engineers from the Iraqi Ministry of Water resources headed to check the Darbandikhan dam, which was built in 1956 on the Diyala River in Sulaimaniyah province.
Late on Sunday, the Iraqi Minister of Water Resources warned the people down the Darbandikhan Dam to be in highest alert as the condition of the dam is not clear.
Another civilian was killed and five others wounded by the collapse of buildings in the city of Jalawlaa in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, Faris al-Azzawi, head of Diyala's provincial health department, told Xinhua.
However, the number of casualties is still conflicted in the Kurdish region as Joint Crisis Coordination Center for the government of Kurdistan region said on its Twitter page that there are over 500 casualties and that local hospitals in Sulaimaniyah province is in urgent need for medical personnel, equipment and medicines to treat the wounded civilians.
On Sunday evening, a huge earthquake measuring 7.2 magnitude hit Iraq's northern province of Sulaimaniyah.
The epicenter of the earthquake was 32 km southwest of the Halabja area near the Iranian border, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The earthquake was felt in many Iraqi provinces in the north and central regions, including the Iraqi capital Baghdad.