October 23, 2011 by staff
Earthquake Turkey, Up to 1,000 people may have died on Sunday when a powerful earthquake in Turkey, the collapse of dozens of buildings and pulling down telephone and power lines in the country’s southeast, officials and witnesses.
Emergency workers struggled to rescue people trapped in buildings in the city of Van and surrounding districts on the shores of Lake Van, near Turkey’s border with Iran.
“We heard screams and moans from under the rubble, we are waiting for rescue teams to arrive,” said Halil Celik, a young man living in the city center, told Reuters as he stood beside the ruins of building had collapsed before their eyes.
“Suddenly, an earthquake destroyed the building in front of me. All who were there, we all ran to the building and rescued two wounded from the ruins.”
Kandilli Observatory in Turkey and the Earthquake Research Institute said the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was five kilometers (three miles) deep.
About 10 buildings collapsed in the city of Van and about 25-30 buildings were brought to earth in the nearby district of Erci?, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters.
“We estimate that about 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000″, Kandilli Observatory said general manager Mustafa Erdik a news conference.
Cihan news agency reported that more than 50 bodies at a hospital in Erci?, a village near Van, near the quake’s epicenter.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on his way to Van and the cabinet is expected to discuss the earthquake at a meeting called for Monday morning.
“Many of the buildings collapsed, many people died, but we know the number. We are waiting for emergency assistance, it is very urgent,” said Zulfukar Arapoglu, the mayor of Erci?, news broadcaster NTV.
Cihan news agency said of the dead, 30 were killed in Erci? district where about 80 buildings had collapsed.
“We urgently need tents and rescue teams. We have no ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many dead and wounded,” said Arapoglu.
The Turkish Red Crescent, said one of their local computers was helping to rescue people from a student residence in Erci?. He said it was sending tents, blankets and food to the region.
More than 20 aftershocks shook the area, even more disturbing residents who ran out on the streets when the quake hit hard early. Television pictures showed shaking rooms and furniture falling to the ground when people ran from one building.
Dozens of emergency workers and residents were dragged over a multistory building in Van in their search for people trapped on either side.
In addition, the vehicles were smashed in the street by falling masonry, while dazed-looking people wandered past.
About 50 injured people were taken to hospital in Van, the state news agency Anatolia, but gave no details about the severity of their injuries were.
Turkish media said telephone lines and electricity had been cut. The quake’s epicenter was in the village of Tabanli, 20 km north of the city of Van, Kandilli said.
In Hakkari, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Van, a Reuters correspondent said the building was rocked for 10 seconds during the earthquake. But there was no immediate indication of casualties or damage in the city, which is about two half-hour drive through the mountains of Van.
Major geological fault lines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a daily occurrence around. Two major earthquakes in 1999 killed over 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.
An earthquake shook the province of Van, in November 1976, with 5291 confirmed deaths. Two people were killed and wounded 79 in May, when an earthquake struck northwestern Turkey in SIMAVE.
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