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Turkish Quake
Turkish Quake

Quake rocks Turkey

(DP-News - agencies)

TURKEY- A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, collapsing buildings and causing widespread panic throughout the region. The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 struck eastern Turkey Sunday, collapsing buildings and causing a number of deaths, officials said. At least 50 people were injured.

The temblor collapsed several buildings in the city of Van as well, authorities said.

A number of injuries were reported, the Anatolia news agency said, but there were no immediate reports of deaths. Officials warned, however, that they were struggling to assess the full extent of the damage.



“There is serious human and material loss,” said a brief statement from the national disaster body, which is based in the prime minister’s office.

The temblor struck in an area near the Iranian border at 1:41 p.m., and had a preliminary magnitude of 7.2, the United States Geological Survey said. The quake’s epicenter was in the village of Tabanli, near the city of Van.

Several strong aftershocks also were felt in the area.

Turkish Red Crescent says its rescuers have pulled out several injured people out of the collapsed dormitory in Ercis. The temblor collapsed several buildings in the city of Van as well, Turkish authorities said.

Some buildings collapsed in downtown Van as well as the neighboring town of Ercis, officials said. Several strong aftershocks also were reported.

"There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed. There is too much destruction," Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told NTV television. "We need urgent aid. We need medics."

Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis.

"There are many people under the rubble," Veysel Keser, mayor of the district of Celebibag told NTV. "People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent help."

"It's a great disaster," he said. "Many buildings have collapsed, student dormitories, hotels and gas stations have collapsed."

Some houses also collapsed in the province of Bitlis, while in the nearby province of Mus, the quake toppled the minarets of two mosques, media and officials reported.

NTV said Van's airport was damaged and planes were being diverted to neighboring cities.

Terrified residents spilled into the streets in panic as rescue workers and residents using their bare hands and shovels struggled to evacuate people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings, television footage showed.

In Van, at least two buildings collapsed, Bekir Kaya, the mayor of Van town, told NTV. One of them was a seven-story building, according to Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency.

At least 50 people were treated for injuries in the courtyard of the state hospital in Van, said the state-run Anatolia news agency.

Reports said that several Turkish Cabinet ministers headed to the area as authorities mobilized rescue teams across the country.

But “No overall casualty figure was available.”

Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by fault lines. In 1999, about 18,000 people were killed by two powerful earthquakes that struck northwestern Turkey. Turkish Authorities had blamed shoddy construction for many of the deaths.

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