A 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked a sparsely-populated part of eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 22 people, injuring more than 1,015, Turkish officials said.
Rescue teams from neighbouring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas, working in the dark with floodlights in the freezing cold, and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help.
Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes.
TV footage showed rescuers pull out one injured person from the rubble of a collapsed building in the district of Gezin, in the eastern Elazig province. Around 39 were believed to be trapped inside collapsed structures in Elazig province, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. They’ve been extracted alive.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who travelled to the afflicted area together with Soylu, said 13 people were killed in Elazig, including two people who suffered heart attacks, and five others died in Malatya. A total of 1,015 people were hurt, according to the AFAD (the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency).
Some 30 buildings had collapsed from the quake in the two provinces, according to Murat Kurum, the environment minister.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that all measures were being taken to “”ensure that the earthquake that occurred in Elazig and was felt in many provinces is overcome with the least amount of loss.”
The quake struck at 8:55 p.m. local time, at a depth of 6.7 kilometres near the town of Sivrice in Elazig, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said. It was followed by several aftershocks, the strongest with magnitudes 5.4 and 5.1.