An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 hit Turkey’s eastern Elazığ province on Friday evening, killing at least 21 people and leaving 1,030 others injured, according to the latest update of the country’s disaster agency.
The Kandilli Observatory in Istanbul later revised the magnitude of the earthquake as 6.6. Depth of tremor recorded at 5 kilometres with epicentre in Elazığ’s Sivrice district located within 30-km wide, 700-km long East Anatolian Fault (EAF) zone.
The region has been struck by 274 aftershocks, 12 of which had a magnitude of 4 or higher, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said in its latest update at 10:00 a.m. local time. Some 17 people were killed in Elazığ and 14 others were killed in neighbouring Malatya province, the agency said.
The earthquake was felt in surrounding provinces, including Diyarbakır and Gaziantep in southeast Turkey and the southern province of Adana, as well as Turkey’s eastern and southern neighbours, Iran, Syria and Lebanon. The search and rescue operations are continuing said Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, adding that the death-toll could rise.
The Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu described the quake as a “Level 3” incident according to the country’s emergency response plan, meaning that it called for a national response but did not require international help. Turkey is located on active seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. A magnitude-7.4 quake killed more than 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey in 1999.
09:37 – Defence ministry supports rescue work
Turkey’s Ministry of Defence announced on Twitter that one unmanned aerial vehicle and one scout aircraft have been supporting rescue work in earthquake hit regions in east Turkey.
05:25 – Health Minister: Death toll can climb
At least 30 people are under a wreckage in Elazığ and the death toll can rise in later hours, state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca as saying.
04:30 Canadian prime minister expresses sorrow for Turkey earthquake
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered sympathy to those affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Turkey. “Devastating news from Turkey this evening,” Trudeau said on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to everyone who was injured or who has lost a loved one in today’s earthquake. We’re keeping you in our thoughts tonight.”
03:15 – Minister of Energy Dönmez says power supply in earthquake zone not affected
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez has announced that the dams near Turkey’s Elazığ and Malatya provinces that have been affected by the earthquake have not suffered significant damages, and the supply of power and water in the region will not be interrupted. Turkey’s first large-scale hydroelectric plant, the Keban Dam, is located in the Elazığ province on the River Euphrates, and produces 20 percent of electricity in Turkey.
The Karakaya Dam in the Malatya province, also on the Euphrates, affects how much water Iraq and Syria can receive.
02:45 – Condolence messages pour in for Turkey
Foreign government officials have sent messages of condolences to Turkey, while Kosovo joined Greece in offering assistance in the rescue missions in the country’s provinces affected by the earthquake.
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi said the nation was ready to send immediate operational assistance.
Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay, Albania’s Acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell Fontelles, and Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias have sent messages of condolences.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote a tweet in Greek thanking Minister Dendias. Schools in Elazığ and Malatya will also have their doors open, as announced by Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk.
The rescue mission continues with food trucks, tents and blankets dispatched from all corners of Turkey to the people who are spending the night outside, as aftershocks continue. Istanbul has dispatched 300 firefighters and rescue officers.There have been 97 aftershocks recorded. Five out of the 553 injured people remain in critical condition.