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Turkey quake kills at least 22, rescuers dig for survivors

January 25, 2020 at 10:18 am

Rescuers search quake rubble in Sursuru neighborhood for survivors after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake jolted eastern Turkish province of Elazig on 25 January, 2020 [Sercan Küçükşahin/Anadolu Agency]

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey reached 22 on Saturday, as rescuers searched for an estimated 22 more people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The magnitude 6.8 quake late Friday shook Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by more than 390 aftershocks, 12 of which had magnitudes over 4.

Eighteen people were killed in Elazig and four more in the neighbouring province of Malatya, said Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD), adding 1,031 others were injured and in hospitals in the region. It said rescue efforts were underway at three different sites in Elazig.

READ: Magnitude 4.7 earthquake hits Istanbul

Footage early on Saturday showed emergency workers rescuing three people in Elazig after 12 hours under the rubble. A woman was rescued after 13 hours and authorities rescued another woman in Elazig some 15 hours after the quake.

Speaking in Elazig, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 39 people had been pulled out from under the rubble since the quake, but that 22 others were still trapped.

Speaking alongside Soylu, Health Minster Fahrettin Koca said 128 wounded people were still receiving treatment and that 34 of those were in intensive care, but not in critical conditions. He said additional medical centres would be set up if necessary.

State broadcaster TRT showed footage of dozens of workers in the dawn light using shovels to dig out a partly collapsed building in Elazig. Windows were smashed and balconies from at least four storeys had crashed to the ground.

Teams worked through the night with their hands, drills and mechanical diggers to remove bricks and plaster from the ruins in the province where the overnight temperature dipped to -8 degrees Celsius.