22 killed as strong earthquake hits Turkey

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Teams conduct search operations for survivors of a collapsed building in Malatya province in Turkey on Friday evening. — Courtesy photo

ISTANBUL — At least 22 people people were killed and hundreds injured in eastern Turkey after an earthquake rattled the region on Friday evening, according to authorities.

The 6.7-magnitude quake struck near the town of Sivrice, in eastern Elazig province, razing at least 10 buildings to the ground, Turkish Interior Minister Sulyman Soylu said.

Eighteen people were killed in Elazig province and four in Malatya, said Soylu at a news conference on Saturday.

Around 39 people were pulled from under the rubble of collapsed building overnight, he said, adding that 22 people remain trapped.

About 1,030 people were injured and hospitalized, Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said. But the number could rise.

The earthquake caused five buildings to collapse in Elazig, and heavy damage to a number of buildings in the area, Minister of Environment and Urbanization Murat Kurum told reporters.

Preliminary reports say the earthquake lasted 40 seconds, the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

Fifteen aftershocks have been felt in the wake, with the strongest registering at 5.4 magnitude, Soylu said. The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), which enhances the shaking felt at the surface.

About 500,000 people felt strong to very strong shaking, the USGS reported. The earthquake was felt in several other countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

State media in Syria reported the earthquake was felt in several areas of the country. Local media in Lebanon reported the same in the cities of Beirut and Tripoli.

State broadcaster TRT showed footage of police and emergency workers searching a partly collapsed building in Elazig. Windows were smashed and balconies had crashed to the ground.

The quake interrupted a live broadcast of Edessa TV. Video of the broadcast shows four anchors talking while everything shakes around them.

All relevant departments were taking measures to ensure the safety of citizens following the earthquake, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said early Saturday. Interior, health and environment ministers were sent to the quake-hit area. — Agencies


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