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, told AFP yesterday, 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-year-old.
The 7.3-magnitude quake hit on the Iraq-Iran border area on Sunday night, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands of others.
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.
Iraqi health ministry spokesman Seif al-Nadr said that the quake injured 321 people in Iraqi Kurdistan, 170 others in Diyala province and 44 in the disputed northern province of Kirkuk.
Most of them were treated for shock, he said in a statement.
"The Iraqi government must help the victims," said Yassin Qassem, whose house was badly damaged by the quake.
"We are Kurds but also Iraqis," he added.
Sunday's quake was also felt in southeastern Turkey.
Ankara has sent humanitarian assistance to Iraq, including tents and blankets, as well as a medical team, a Turkish government spokesman said.