Rescue workers after earthquake in Turkey 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Abdurrahman Antakyali/Anadolu Agency)
At least 217 people were confirmed killed and hundreds more feared dead after an earthquake hit parts of southeast Turkey on Sunday with rescue teams working through the night to free trapped survivors.
on Monday Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the 7.2
magnitude quake killed 100 in the city of Van and 117 in the badly hit
town of Ercis, 100 km (60 miles) further north. The death toll was
expected to rise.
IDF prepares rescue mission to Turkey after earthquake
emergency operations in Ercis, Sahin said a total of 1,090 people were
known to have been injured. Hundreds remain unaccounted for.
efforts struggled to get into full swing following the quake, with
electricity cut off as darkness fell on the towns and villages on the
barren Anatolian steppe near the border with Iran.
emergency service workers searched frantically through broken concrete,
using hands, shovels and torches or working under floodlights powered by
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said there were
an unknown number of people unaccounted for under the collapsed
buildings of the stricken towns, and he feared the worst for villagers
living in outlying rural areas, who had still to be reached.
the buildings are made of adobe, they are more vulnerable to quakes. I
must say that almost all buildings in such villages are destroyed,"
Erdogan told a televised news conference in Van shortly after midnight
Scores of strong aftershocks have jolted the region in the hours since the quake struck on Sunday.
Van, a bustling and ancient city on a lake ringed by snow-capped
mountains and with a population of 1 million, cranes shifted rubble off a
crumpled six-storey apartment block where bystanders said 70 people
Erdogan visited Ercis earlier by helicopter to
assess first hand the scale of the disaster. With 55 buildings
flattened, including a student dormitory, the level of destruction in
Ercis, a town of 100,000, was greater than in Van, where fewer came
"We don't know how many people are in the ruins of collapsed buildings, it would be wrong to give a number," he said.
television images from Ercis showed rescuers trying to clam one young
boy, aged about 10, pinned beneath a concrete slab.
be patient," they pleaded as the boy whimpered. The lifeless hand of an
adult, with a wedding ring, was visible just a few centimeters (inches)
in front of his face.
The military issued a statement saying two battalions had been sent to assist the relief operations.
were deployed in the town to help rescuers and digging machines had
also arrived to help. There was a constant wail of ambulance sirens
ferrying the injured to hospitals.
Dogan news agency reported that 24 people were pulled from the rubble alive in the two hours after midnight.
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