Turkey Earthquakes

  • Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.

    Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey's health ministry said.

    The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.

    The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.

    Turkish TV footage showed people digging with shovels and their hands in the rubble, as well as furniture and belongings strewn on cracked and snowy roads.

    In one village the ground cratered under several buildings, while in others residents were wrapped in blankets outside homes with crumbled and cracked exterior walls, fallen metal roofs and twisted wiring.

    "The damage caused loss of life," the governor of Van, Mehmet Bilmez, told reporters standing in front of a pile of cinder blocks and sheet metal. "There is destruction in all four villages" he visited on Sunday morning, he added.

    The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said the quake, which hit at 8:53 a.m. local time (05:53 GMT), had a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles).

    Broadcasters and government officials said dozens of villages were rattled in Turkey, which like Iran has a history of powerful earthquakes. Nearly 150 tents were sent to shelter families in the region, where several schools in the districts of Baskale, Saray and Gurpinar sustained minor damage.

    Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has begun rescue work in villages including in Ozpinar, about 25 km south of the epicenter, said Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. AFAD measured the tremor at 5.9 magnitude.

    The U.S. Geological Survey put the epicenter 47 km west of the Iranian city of Khoy, where people felt the tremor, according to state TV.

    An earthquake last month in eastern Turkey killed more than 40 people while another in Iran did structural damage to homes without causing any fatalities.

    An Iranian official told state TV that rescue teams had been dispatched to the area in Iran's West Azarbaijan province.

    Another local official said the earthquake was felt in several towns including Urmiah and Salmas, and many villages including some that suffered "100% damage", state TV reported.

  • At least 22 people have been killed after an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck eastern Turkey.

    More than 1,200 people are injured - including 34 who are in intensive care but not critical, Health Minster Fahrettin Koca said.

    It is estimated that more than 20 people are trapped under debris, while more than 40 have been rescued so far.

    The quake jolted Elazig province, which is around 340 miles (550km) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

    Eighteen people were killed in Elazig and four more in the neighbouring province of Malatya. Rescue efforts are continuing at three sites in Elazig.

    Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes as buildings collapsed in affected towns near the centre of the tremor, which was felt in several neighbouring countries.
    Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described the earthquake as a "level 3" incident, according to Turkey's emergency response plan - meaning that it called for a national response but did not require international help.
    About 30 buildings collapsed from the quake in the two provinces, according to Environment Minister Murat Kurum.

    State broadcaster TRT showed footage of police and emergency workers searching a partly collapsed building in Elazig, as well as smashed windows and balconies that had crashed to the ground.

    Rescue teams could also be seen working by hand to remove bricks and plaster from the ruins.

    Elazig residents whose homes were damaged were being moved to student dormitories or sports centres amid freezing conditions.

    Mr Soylu added that the country, which is prone to earthquakes, had learnt lessons from past disasters which helped it address Friday's quake.

    Drones were deployed in search operations and communication between provinces.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a tweet that all measures were being taken to "ensure that the earthquake that occurred in Elazig and was felt in many areas is overcome with the least amount of loss".

    The quake struck at 8.55pm local time (5.55pm in the UK) at a depth of four miles (6.7km), near the town of Sivrice in Elazig, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

    It was followed by 401 aftershocks, 14 of which had magnitudes of over 4, AFAD added.

    Residents were warned not to return to damaged buildings.

    AFAD said beds, blankets and tents were being sent to the area, where the overnight temperature dipped to minus 8C (17.6F).

    Syria and Iran both reported feeling the earthquake, according to the countries' state media.

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