Magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocks Turkey: 22 dead, over 1,000 injured

A powerful quake shook eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 21 people, injuring more than 1030 and collapsing dozens of structures.

The magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck at 8:55 pm local time, and its epicenter was near the Sivrice district of the eastern Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara. More than 250 aftershocks followed the tremor.

Some 30 people are still trapped under the rubble in collapsed buildings, according to a joint statement by Interior and Health Ministers.

The seismic waves of the quake crossed borders, reportedly shaking parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

Footage emerged on Saturday showing rescue workers retrieving three people in Elazig 12 hours after the shock.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) cautioned residents not to return to damaged structures due to the risk of more aftershocks.

Relief groups are working to send food, beds, blankets, heaters, and tents to the area as Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called the shock a “Level 3” incident citing Turkey’s crisis response regulations, suggesting that it required a national response but that it did not need international help.

“I wish God’s mercy to our brothers who lost their lives in the earthquake, and urgent healing for those who were injured,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.

Professor Haluk Ozener, head of the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, called the tremor “a very powerful one,” urging caution in the event of aftershocks.

Turkey has experienced many powerful quakes in the past as the country straddles multiple fault lines. A 7.4 earthquake hit Turkey’s northwest in 1999, killing more than 17,000 people and displacing nearly half a million people.

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