ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – More than a dozen schools have been damaged in Darbandikhan due to the 7.3 magnitude earthquake which shook the Kurdistn Region and neighboring countries last week.
The Education Department of Darbandikhan explained 16 schools were damaged as a result of the earthquake and its aftershocks and that these schools cannot be used for classes due to the high possibility of the buildings collapsing.
“I was sad to see these things here. I want the government to repair this place. I want to go back to school to study,” Helen Mohammed sighed while holding the hands of her 3rd grader brother and looking for their class in the school only to find it in ruin.
In Darbandikhan area, a loss of 10 billion Iraqi Dinars (IQD) has been incurred on the education sector, according to local officials.
Darbandikhan Education Department now brings students from four schools and puts them in one building in order for the education process to continue.
“Sixteen of our schools and 2 kindergartens have been damaged. Classes cannot resume in them for now,” Omar Mohammed, head of the Darbandikhan Education Department, told Rudaw. “We distributed the students of these schools on other schools in Darbandikhan.”
He explained that “some schools will have three, sometimes four rounds of classes a day.”
After the Education Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) met with the head of Education Department and headmasters of affected schools, he said they were trying to dedicate a budget to renovate the schools.
“Although the government is in deep financial crisis, we should dedicate some of the budget to attend to things that require urgent attention,” KRG Minister of Education, Pishtiwan Sadiq, told Rudaw.
Some 1,968 teachers teach 16,343 students at 70 schools and kindergartens throughout Darbandikhan.
Students in Darbandikhan were wishing to go back to school after the earthquake. But the committee formed by the Darbandikhan Education Department says that some schools in the town should be demolished because of the direct impact of the earthquake.
Darbandikhan dam built in 1961 was also damaged by the powerful quake.
The death toll of last week’s earthquake, according to the latest figure, rose to 12 in the Kurdistan Region. More than 500 people were injured mainly in the areas of Darbandikhan, Halabja, Kalar and Khanaqin ,the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced in a press report on Tuesday.