At least four people have died after a strong earthquake of magnitude 7 off the coast of Turkey destroyed buildings and triggered a tsunami warning.
The Turkish Presidency for Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) announced the deaths in a statement before Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed the deaths in a tweet. He also said that 120 people were injured by paramedics and rescue helicopters on the ground. The full extent of the injuries and deaths is unclear.
The epicenter of the quake was in the Aegean Sea off the coast of the Turkish province of Izmir at a depth of 10 km, according to the US Geological Survey, and the tremors of the earthquake were felt as far away as Athens in Greece and Istanbul, which is over 200 miles away. The quake is said to have triggered a mini tsunami that flooded a port on the Greek island of Samos.
Videos and images published in social media showed buildings collapsing to rubble and people combing the ruins, although this has yet to be independently verified. Smoke was also filmed in several areas, while other videos shared videos of water flooding the streets after the tsunami warning.
In Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, many people were seen running into the streets in panic and fear after the quake. About 20 buildings collapsed, Turkish officials said.
Footage broadcast by the Turkish news agency DHA showed that at least one building collapsed and people climbed onto the rubble to call for survivors in the rubble.
Izmir seferihisar da yasanan depremden sonra deniz taÅtÄ±. Ust katlarda mahsur kaldik. Cok fazla zarar var. pic.twitter.com/TFhkjjjKFGa
– zebercet (@beril_e) October 30, 2020
The inhabitants of Samos, which has a population of about 45,000, were asked to stay away from the coastal areas. Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of the Greek Organization for Earthquake Protection Planning, told the Greek television station Skai TV: “It was a very big earthquake, it is difficult to have a bigger one”.
Turkey and Greece both lie on fault lines, and earthquakes are not uncommon. In January more than 30 people were killed and more than 1,600 injured when an earthquake shook Sivrice in the eastern Turkish province of Elazig.
In July 2019, the Greek capital Athens was hit by an earthquake that paralyzed large parts of the city. A strong quake that hit the Turkish city of Izmit near Istanbul in 1999 killed about 17,000 people.
The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation announced that it has sent a 250-strong search and rescue team from 60 provinces of Turkey to the earthquake area.