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Turkey earthquake: At least 22 dead as buildings collapse

Media captionRescue teams rushed to help after the earthquake struck

At least 22 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in a powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey.

The magnitude-6.8 quake, centred on the town of Sivrice in Elazig province, caused buildings to collapse and sent residents rushing into the street.

Thirty-nine people have been pulled from the wreckage, with more than 20 feared to remain trapped, rescuers say.

Earthquakes are common in Turkey – about 17,000 people died in a quake in the western city of Izmit in 1999.

Friday’s quake struck at about 20:55 local time (17:55 GMT).

Tremors were also felt in neighbouring Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

This woman was pulled from the rubble in Elazig

More than 200 aftershocks were recorded in the immediate aftermath.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (Afad) said more than 400 rescue teams were heading towards the region, along with beds and tents for those displaced. It warned people not to return to damaged buildings in case of aftershocks.

Afad said that 18 people had died in Elazig province, while the official count in Malatya is four. The governor or Malatya, however, earlier said that six people had died there.

  • History of deadly earthquakes

TV pictures showed emergency services frantically searching for survivors.

One woman was pulled from under the rubble about 13 hours after the quake, officials say. She was saved after calling her relatives from her mobile phone and telling them where she was trapped.

But a 12-year-old boy rescued from the wreckage later died in hospital.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

The quake caused many buildings to collapse

“It was very scary – furniture fell on top of us. We rushed outside,” AFP news agency quoted 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the city of Elazig, as saying.

The region struck by the quake, some 550km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, is remote and sparsely populated, so details of damage and fatalities could be slow to emerge.

Officials have sent beds, tents and blankets to the area, where overnight temperatures regularly fall below zero. In its advisory on Saturday morning, the emergency authority said the temperature had fallen to -8C.

The Turkish Red Crescent has also dispatched hundreds of personnel with emergency supplies, it said.

Sivrice, a town of about 4,000 people, is a popular tourist spot on the shore of Hazar lake, the source of the river Tigris.


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