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Earthquake hits Turkey, up to 1,000 possibly killed

Earthquake hits Turkey, up to 1,000 possibly killed
Source - Reuters
By Jonathon Burch
VAN, Turkey | Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:55am EDT


VAN, Turkey (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake which shook southeast Turkey on Sunday may have killed up to a 1,000 people as it triggered the collapse of dozens of buildings across the region, media reported the Kandilli Observatory as saying.

Emergency workers battled to rescue people trapped in buildings in the city of Van and surrounding districts on the banks of Lake Van, near Turkey's border with Iran.

Some 10 buildings collapsed in Van city and about 25-30 buildings were brought to the ground in the nearby district of Ercis, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters.

"We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000," Kandilli Observatory general manager Mustafa Erdik told a news conference.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was traveling to Van and the cabinet was expected to discuss the quake at a meeting called for Monday morning.

"A lot of buildings collapsed, many people were killed, but we don't know the number. We are waiting for emergency help, it's very urgent," Zulfukar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told news broadcaster NTV.

Cihan news agency said 30 had been killed in Ercis district.

"We need tents urgently and rescue teams. We don't have any ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many killed and injured," he said.

Turkey's Red Crescent said one of its local teams was helping to rescue people from a student residence in Ercis. It said it was sending tents, blankets and food to the region.

More than 20 aftershocks shook the area, further unsettling residents who ran out on the streets when the initial strong quake struck. Television pictures showed rooms shaking and furniture falling to the ground as people ran from one building.

Dozens of emergency workers and locals crawled over a multi-storey building in Van as they searched for any people trapped in side.
Elsewhere, vehicles lay crushed by falling masonry in the street while dazed-looking people wandered past.

Some 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, state-run Anatolian news agency reported, but it did not give details on how serious their injuries were.

The Kandilli Observatory, which initially cited a magnitude of 6.6, said the earthquake struck at 1041 GMT (6:41 a.m. EDT) and was 5 km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6.

Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. The quake's epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, 20 km north of Van city, Kandilli said.

In Hakkari, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Van, a building could be felt swaying for about 10 seconds during the quake but there was no immediate sign of casualties or damage in the town, about two and a half hours drive through the mountains from Van.

Major geological fault lines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.

Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey.



Turkey Earthquake 2011: 7.2 Quake Near Ercis Causes Death, Damage
Source - AP News

CNN reports that a 7.2 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey, making it the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in ten years.

The quake was felt in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Siirt, Mus and Agri, according to Bloomberg News.

By SELCAN HACAOGLU and SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press

NKARA, Turkey — A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday, collapsing about 45 buildings according to the deputy prime minister.

Only one death was immediately confirmed, but scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could have been killed.

The worst damage was caused to the town of Ercis, in the mountainous eastern province of Van, close to the Iranian border. The city of Van also suffered substantial damage.

"Around 10 buildings have collapsed in the city of Van and around 25 or 30 have collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory," Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said.

Atalay said authorities had no information yet on remote villages, adding that the governor was now touring the region by helicopter to assess damage. The quake's epicenter was in the village of Tabanli.

Authorities did not provide a casualty figure but the Kandilli observatory, Turkey's main seismography center, said the quake was capable of killing many more people.

"We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000," Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, told a televised news conference. His estimate was based on the structure of the housing in the area and the strength of the quake.

The Turkish Red Crescent said its rescuers pulled several injured people out of the collapsed dormitory in Ercis, which sits on a geological fault line.

In Van, a bustling city with many apartment buildings, at least 50 people were treated in the courtyard of the state hospital, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

"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 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, where at least one person, an 8-year-old girl was killed, authorities said. The quake also toppled the minarets of two mosques in the nearby province of Mus, reports said.

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 find people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings, television footage showed.

Several Cabinet ministers headed to the area as authorities mobilized rescue teams across the country.

The quake had a depth of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), which is relatively shallow and could potentially cause more damage.

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. Authorities blamed shoddy construction for many of the deaths.

Videos at both sources



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Tags: deaths, disasters, earthquake, natural disaster, turkey
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