At least 14 people were killed and hundreds injured after a powerful earthquake struck the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos.
the main points:
- The epicenter was in the Aegean Sea, off the western coast of Turkey
- Four people were killed, one of them by drowning, and 20 buildings were destroyed in Izmir
- The earthquake was felt in the eastern Greek islands and the capital, Athens
The earthquake also caused damage to buildings in the Turkish city of Izmir, as a small tsunami struck Seferihisar in the coastal city.
At least 12 people were killed in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, including one drowned, and 419 people were injured, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency.
Videos posted on Twitter showed floods in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
Ismail Yetskin, Mayor of Seferihisar in Izmir, said that sea levels had risen as a result of the earthquake.
“It looks like there are small tsunamis,” he told NTV.
Video footage on social media showed debris including refrigerators, chairs and tables floating in the streets on the deluge.
Cars were dragged in Seferihisar district of Izmir by water and piled on top of each other.
Elk Sid, a doctoral student who was in the Gozelbakhshe region of Izmir during the earthquake, said he went inland after the water level rose.
In Samos, where a tsunami warning was issued, two teenagers were killed after crashing into a collapsed wall.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted his condolences, saying: “Words are too poor to describe what one feels before losing children.”
Eight other people were reported to be treated at the local hospital for minor injuries.
Turkish Health Minister Fakhruddin Kujah said on Twitter that 38 ambulances, two ambulance planes and 35 medical rescue teams are working in Izmir.
The disaster and emergency management said the quake’s epicenter was in the Aegean Sea at a depth of 16.5 kilometers and a magnitude of 6.6 was recorded.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Center said that the initial magnitude of the earthquake was 6.9, and its epicenter was 13 kilometers northeast of the Greek island of Samos.
The United States Geological Survey put the size at 7.0 degrees.
Rescue operation is underway
The mayor of Izmir, Tonk Sawyer, told CNN Turk that about 20 buildings had collapsed.
Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Kosjar said at least 70 people had been rescued from the rubble.
Turkish media showed the debris of a multi-storey building in central Izmir, as people climbed up to reach rescuers.
Turkish media said that residents felt the earthquake in the Aegean and Marmara regions, where Istanbul is located, but the governor of Istanbul said that there were no reports of damage in the city.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter that there were no reports of casualties from six other provinces where the earthquake was felt, but he said that there were small cracks in some buildings.
Intersected by major fault lines, Turkey is among the countries most earthquake-prone in the world.
More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Izmit, southeast of Istanbul. In 2011, an earthquake in the eastern city of Wan killed more than 500 people.
Exchange of solidarity between Turkey and Greece
The earthquake was felt across the eastern Greek islands, the Greek capital, Athens, and Bulgaria.
In Samos, damage to buildings and roads was reported, and residents were warned to stay away from the coast for fear of a tsunami.
Water rose over the pier in the main port of Samos and flooded the street. Residents are also asked to move away from buildings amid aftershocks.
“It was a very large earthquake, and it is difficult to have a bigger earthquake,” Eftihimos Likas, head of the earthquake control organization in Greece, told Sky TV.
The Greek Minister responsible for Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Hardelias, went to Samos, as did the search and rescue team, paramedics and engineers.
In a rare display of solidarity in recent months of tense bilateral relations, Greek and Turkish government officials issued mutual messages of solidarity.
Turkish Communications Director Fakhreddin Altun wrote on Twitter, “We pray for no further loss of life in Turkey or Greece, and we send our best wishes to all those affected by the earthquake.”
“This tragedy reminds us once again of how close we are despite our differences over policy. We are ready to help if Greece needs it.”
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister, tweeted that he had called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “offer my condolences for the tragic loss of life from the earthquake that struck our two countries. Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together.”
ABC / wire
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