More than 230 dead in Turkey quake; 1,300 more hurt – CNN.com.
Ercis, Turkey (CNN) — Using shovels, heavy machinery and their bare hands, rescue workers scrambled through piles of rubble to find survivors Monday after a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of eastern Turkey.
There were conflicting reports about the number dead. As many as 264 people are dead and 1,300 are injured after Sunday’s quake, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin told reporters Monday. However, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay put the death toll at 239 in a news conference.
It was difficult to tally the number of injured, Health Minister Recep Akdag said, because many were being treated and released.
Turkey’s semi-official Anatolian news agency quoted Sahin as saying a total of 970 buildings had collapsed.
The military was assisting with search and rescue efforts, Atalay said.
Numerous aftershocks — the largest a magnitude 6.0 — rattled eastern Turkey, one of the nation’s poorest areas.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 55 buildings collapsed in Ercis on the north shore of Lake Van. The Turkish Red Crescent said about 25 apartment buildings and a student dormitory collapsed in the town.
Turkish quake survivors confront cold
Woman pulled from rubble in Turkey
Erdogan views Turkey quake damage
Turkey earthquake damage ‘massive’
A health services building also collapsed, along with part of a hospital, CNN sister network CNN Turk reported. The injured were being treated in the hospital’s garden.
“People are really scared,” CNN Turk reporter Nevsin Mengu said from Van. “The survivors are now trying to survive the cold weather.”
Rescuers and survivors contended with near-freezing temperatures early Monday. Some people collected wood from collapsed buildings to burn for warmth, Mengu said.
She said many residents are not returning to their houses, opting instead to sleep on rooftops or in the streets. It was not clear whether their homes were uninhabitable, or whether they were just too frightened. Electricity and natural gas were off in most of the city, but Atalay said officials hope to restore power in Van and Ercis by Monday night.
Trucks carrying medical aid and food were seen driving into Van. But rescue teams had not yet reached some of the smaller villages in the area, Mengu said.
One man, stuck in the fetal position under a large piece of debris, was visible only through a small hole in the rubble. The man appeared weak and exhausted after rescuers pulled him out, his clothes torn.
At one point, rescue workers halted operations to try to hear if anyone was knocking for help.
Are you there? Submit your pictures or video
The Red Crescent called for rescue workers, machinery and drinking water. A crisis center was set up by the country’s Health Ministry in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
By Monday, more than 2,300 emergency personnel were on the ground, Atalay said. Tents and rescue teams have come from as far away as Iran and Azerbaijan.
The crisis center said Sunday 29 surrounding towns had sent help and medical helicopters were taking the injured for treatment in other provinces. Thirty-seven patients were taken to Ankara, Atalay said Monday.
Two tent hospitals were being set up in Ercis on Sunday, and two cargo planes were dispatched from the capital carrying medical teams and aid.
Prime Minister Erdogan and Akdag arrived in the area Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health’s crisis center.
Israel offered Turkey “any help it may require” after the earthquake, Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s office said. Israel and Turkey, once close allies, saw a deterioration in relations in a dispute over an Israeli naval commando raid on the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish activists were killed.
A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the country, while grateful for offers of aid, is prepared to handle the disaster on its own.
Turkey is “no stranger to having these seismic events,” but Sunday’s quake is considered major, CNN Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf said.
A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Izmit, Turkey, killed more than 17,000 people in 1999, according to the United States Geological Survey. A magnitude 7.2 tremor in Duzce the same year killed 894 people, the USGS reported.
Sunday’s major quake struck at 1:41 p.m. local time, about 12 miles from Van, the USGS said.
* Quake was magnitude 7.2, Turkish observatory says
* Up to 1,000 may have been killed
* Prime Minister Erdogan to visit affected region
* Dozens of buildings collapse in Ercis district (Recasts with new magnitude figure, death toll estimate, details)
By Jonathon Burch
VAN, Turkey, Oct 23 (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake which shook southeast Turkey on Sunday may have killed up to 1,000 people as it triggered the collapse of dozens of buildings across the region, media reported the Kandilli Observatory as saying.
Emergency workers battled to rescue people trapped in buildings in the city of Van and surrounding districts on the banks of Lake Van, near Turkey’s border with Iran.
Some 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.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was travelling to Van and the cabinet was expected to discuss the quake at a meeting called for Monday morning.
“A lot of buildings collapsed, many people were killed, but we don’t know the number. We are waiting for emergency help, it’s very urgent,” Zulfukar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told news broadcaster NTV.
Cihan news agency said 30 had been killed in Ercis district.
“We need tents urgently and rescue teams. We don’t have any ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many killed and injured,” he said.
Turkey’s Red Crescent said one of its local teams was helping to rescue people from a student residence in Ercis. It said it was sending tents, blankets and food to the region.
More than 20 aftershocks shook the area, further unsettling residents who ran out on the streets when the initial strong quake struck. Television pictures showed rooms shaking and furniture falling to the ground as people ran from one building.
Dozens of emergency workers and locals crawled over a multi-storey building in Van as they searched for any people trapped in side.
Elsewhere, vehicles lay crushed by falling masonry in the street while dazed-looking people wandered past.
Some 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, state-run Anatolian news agency reported, but it did not give details on how serious their injuries were.
The Kandilli Observatory, which initially cited a magnitude of 6.6, said the earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was 5 km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6.
Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. The quake’s epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, 20 km north of Van city, Kandilli said.
In Hakkari, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Van, a building could be felt swaying for about 10 seconds during the quake but there was no immediate sign of casualties or damage in the town, about two and a half hours drive through the mountains from Van.
Major geological fault lines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.
Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey. (Additional reporting by Sedan Sezer and Daren Butler; Editing by Louise Ireland)