More than 1,000 people were feared killed on Sunday when a powerful earthquake hit Turkey, collapsing many buildings and disrupting phone and power lines in the southeast of the country.
Emergency workers battled to rescue people trapped in buildings in the city of Van, a large eastern city populated mainly by Kurds, and surrounding districts on the banks of Lake Van, near Turkey’s border with Iran. But they fear that thousands of people might have died. “We heard cries and groaning from underneath the debris, we are waiting for the rescue teams to arrive,” A reporter of the Reuters pointed out, “All of a sudden, a quake tore down the building in front of me. All the bystanders, we all ran to the building and rescued two injured people from the ruins.”
Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute said the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was five kilometres deep. Around 10 buildings collapsed in Van city and about 25-30 buildings were brought to the ground in the nearby district of Ercis, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters.
“We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000,” Kandilli Observatory general manager Mustafa Erdik told a news conference.
Cihan news agency reported that there were more than 50 dead bodies at a hospital in Ercis, a town near Van, near the quake’s epicentre. (Reuters/AFP)