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South Eastern Europe

Dozens dead in strong Turkey earthquake

Author: Nick Iliev Date: Mon, Mar 08 2010 4 Comments, 8333 Views
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A powerful earthquake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6 on the Richter scale, struck the eastern part of the country on the morning of March 8, killing dozens, international media reported.

The epicentre was near the village of Basyurt, about 500 km east of the capital, Ankara, and it occurred at 4.32am Bulgarian time, while many people were sleeping.

According to the Turkish Kandilli Observatory seismology centre, there were more than 20 aftershocks, the strongest measuring 4.1.

Reportedly, 38 were confirmed killed while more than 60 people were injured. Bekir Yanilmaz, mayor of the nearby town of Kovancilar, said the victims were from the villages of Okcular, Yukari Kanatli and Kayali, where the quake caused significant structural damage to houses and mosques.

Others were injured during the subsequent stampede as people leaped from windows or balconies and ran into each other on the streets, media reports say.

"Everything has been knocked down, there is not a stone in place," Yadin Apaydin, Yukari Kanatli village administrator told CNN Turk.

CNN-Turk television said the dead included four young sisters trapped in the rubble. Rescue workers were trying to pull one other person out of the debris in Okcular village, it was reported.

The powerful tremor was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Tunceli, Bingol and Diyarbakir, where residents spent the night outdoors.

Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey as much of the country lies on top of the North Anatolian fault.

In 1999, two powerful earthquakes struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18 000 people.

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