Earthquake Hits Turkey: 100’s Dead

..An earthquake has hit eastern Turkey killing at least 75 people with hundreds more feared dead and causing the collapse of at least 45 buildings.

The 7.2 magnitude quake shook the town of Ercis, in the mountainous eastern province of Van, close to the Iranian border.

The city of Van is also reported to have suffered substantial damage.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said: “Around 10 buildings have collapsed in the city of Van and around 25 or 30 have collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory.”

Residents helped rescue workers using their bare hands to shift lumps of concrete and debris as they struggled to find people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings.

The quake had a depth of 20km (12.4 miles), which is relatively shallow and could potentially cause more damage.

Mustafa Erdik from the Kandilli Observatory said: “We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000.”

Earthquakes are not rare occurences in Turkey, many parts of which lie on a major seismic fault line.

In 1999, about 18,000 people were killed by two powerful earthquakes that struck Izamit in northwestern Turkey.

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