Earthquake hits south-eastern Turkey

Reuters , Sunday 23 Oct 2011

Buildings collapse and dozens are injured after 6.6 earthquake strikes city of Van, Turkish state media reports

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit near Van in south-eastern Turkey on Sunday, injuring 50 and causing some buildings to collapse.

Turkey's Kandilli Observatory and Research Institute said that the earthquake struck at 10:41 GMT and was 5 kilometres (3 miles) deep. The US Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6.

Some buildings collapsed and emergency teams were trying to rescue people believed to be trapped in a building in Van, near the Iranian border, according to state-run news agency Anatolia.

It said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were. Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets.

Turkish media said phone lines and electricity in the area had been cut. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will head to Van to see the damage, media reported.

Aftershocks continued following the initial quake, the epicentre of which was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said.

In Hakkari, a town around 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the city of Van in south-eastern Turkey, a building could be felt swaying for around ten seconds during the quake. There were no immediate signs of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, which is around two and a half hours drive through the mountains from Van and around 20 kilometres from the epicentre.

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 north-western Turkey.

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

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