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7.2 MAGNITUDE QUAKE SHAKEN TURKEY


ANKARA, Turkey - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rushed to the Kurdish-populated Van province where the 7.2-magnitude quake struck on Monday, and warned the toll could rise as more victims were found in the wreckage of shattered buildings.
Erdogan said the situation was particularly grave in Ercis, a district of around 100,000 people where around 55 apartment buildings have collapsed.
Rescuers searched on Monday for victims of a powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey that killed at least 217 people, with more feared trapped in the rubble of dozens of collapsed apartment buildings.
  • Countless people spent the night outdoors after the terrifying quake which also caused widespread electricity outages, huddling around fires for warmth as the temperatures hovered around freezing.
  • The strong shake had sent people rushing into the streets, screaming and wailing in fear as buildings swayed above them.
  • Turkey's Kandilli seismological institute had said in an initial assessment that between 500 and 1,000 people were estimated to have been killed in the disaster.
  • Turkey mobilised some 1,275 search and rescue teams from 38 cities as well as 145 ambulances to speed to the aid of the victims.
  • The military said six battalions were also involved in search and rescue efforts.
  • Six helicopters, including four helicopter ambulances, as well as C-130 military cargo planes were dispatched to the area carrying tents, food and medicine.
Some 200 inmates fled the prison in Van province when the building was damaged in the quake, media reports said, adding that 50 of them returned to prison later after seeing their families.
In 1999, two strong quakes in northwest Turkey's heavily populated and industrialised regions left some 20,000 dead. A powerful earthquake in the town of Caldiran in Van province killed 3,840 people in 1976.
Source: Agency
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