Showing posts with label recent earthquake in turkey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recent earthquake in turkey. Show all posts

Monday, October 24, 2011

Turkey quake kills more than 260, hundreds missing.

Earthquake in Turkey
(Reuters) - Rescuers pulled survivors from beneath mounds of collapsed buildings and searched for the missing on Monday after a major earthquake killed at least 264 people and wounded more than 1,000 in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.

Hundreds more were feared dead after Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake, Turkey's most powerful in a decade, toppled remote villages of mud brick houses.

As desperate survivors cried for help beneath mounds of smashed concrete and twisted metal, some using mobile phones, earth-moving machines and troops joined rescue efforts in the city of Van and the town of Ercis, some 100 km (60 miles) to the north.

"Be patient, be patient," rescuers in Ercis told a whimpering boy pinned under a concrete slab with the lifeless hand of an adult, a wedding ring on one finger, visible just in front of his face.

A Reuters photographer saw a woman and her daughter being freed from beneath a concrete slab in the wreckage of a six-storey building.

"I'm here, I'm here," the woman, named Fidan, called out in a hoarse voice. Talking to her regularly while working for more than two hours to find a way through, rescuers cut through the slab, first sighting the daughter's foot, before freeing them.

In Van, an ancient city of one million on a lake ringed by snow-capped mountains, cranes shifted rubble from a collapsed six-storey apartment block where 70 people were feared trapped.

One woman, standing beside a wrecked four-storey building, told a rescue worker she had spoken to her friend, Hatice Hasimoglu, on her mobile phone six hours after the quake trapped her inside it.

"She's my friend and she called me to say that she's alive and she's stuck in the rubble near the stairs of the building," said her friend, a fellow teacher. "She told me she was wearing red pajamas," she said, standing with distraught relatives begging the rescue workers to hurry.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan flew swiftly to Van to assess the scale of the disaster, in a quake-prone area that is a hotbed of activity for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

Erdogan said he feared for the fate of villages with houses made of mud brick, saying: "Almost all buildings in such villages are destroyed."

The broadcaster NTV quoted Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin as saying the death toll had reached 264. Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, speaking in Van, said more than 1,300 were injured. The interior minister said hundreds more were unaccounted for, many believed buried under rubble.


The quake brought fresh torment to impoverished southeast Turkey, where PKK militants fighting a decades-long insurgency against the state killed 24 Turkish soldiers in Hakkari, south of Van, last week.

The area it struck, near the border with Iran, is remote and mountainous, with long distances between villages and hamlets and people living off stock-raising, arable farming and trading.

The hardest-hit town was Ercis, a town of 100,000, where 55 buildings crumpled, including a student dormitory.

At one collapsed four-storey building, firemen from the major southeastern city of Diyarbakir were trying to reach four missing children. Aid workers carried two large black bags, one apparently containing a child's body, to an ambulance. An old woman wrapped in a headscarf walked alongside sobbing.

A distressed man paced back and forth before running toward the rescue workers on top of the rubble. "That's my nephew's house," he sobbed as workers tried to hold him back.


Thousands of people made homeless by the quake were forced to spend Sunday night on the streets, wrapped in blankets and huddled round open fires. The government has sent four army battalions to Ercis and two to Van to help in the rescue work, but some residents complained of a lack of assistance.

The Red Crescent has said some 5,000 tents and 11,000 blankets have been sent and a tent city has been set up at Ercis stadium. But residents said tents were being given only to relatives of police and soldiers, a possible source of tension.

"The villages have not received any help yet. Instead of making a show, politicians should be visiting them. The Turkish military says they sent soldiers, where are they?" said a municipality official in Van who did not want to be named.

Ibrahim Baydar, a 40-year-old tradesman from Van, accused the government in Ankara of holding back aid. "All the nylon tents are in the black market now. We cannot find any. People are queuing for them. No tents were given to us whatsoever," Baydar said.

"All the police were at the airport waiting for the prime minister yesterday. On a normal day, there are more police on the streets when two kids throw stones at them."

Rescue efforts were hampered by power outages after the quake toppled electricity cables to towns and villages. It also damaged the main Van-Ercis road, CNN Turk reported.

More than 200 aftershocks have jolted the region since the quake struck for around 25 seconds at 1041 GMT on Sunday.

"I just felt the whole earth moving and I was petrified. It went on for ages. And the noise, you could hear this loud, loud noise," said Hakan Demirtas, 32, a builder who was working on a construction site in Van at the time.

"My house is ruined," he said, sitting on a low wall after spending the night in the open. "I am still afraid, I'm in shock. I have no future, there is nothing I can do."

The Red Crescent said about 100 experts had reached the earthquake zone to coordinate rescue and relief operations. Mobile kitchens were set up to feed the homeless. Sniffer dogs had joined the quest for survivors.

At Van airport, a Turkish Airlines cargo plane unloaded aid materials onto waiting military vehicles for distribution.

Dogan news agency reported that 24 people were pulled from the rubble alive in the two hours after midnight.

Erdogan later returned to Ankara for a cabinet meeting to discuss the response to the disaster. He said Turkey could cope by itself, but thanked nations offering help, including Armenia and Israel, which both have strained relations with Ankara.

Major geological fault lines cross Turkey, where small tremors occur almost daily. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in the northwest.

The quake had no impact on Turkish financial markets when they opened on Monday. Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Van benefit from tax exemptions.

In Van, construction worker Sulhattin Secen, 27, said he had first mistaken the rumble of the quake for a car crash.

"Then the ground beneath me started moving up and down as if I was standing in water. May God help us. It's like life has stopped. What are people going to do?"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey.

Recent Earthquake in Turkey
AFP - A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.3 according to the American Institute of Geophysics USGS, occurred Sunday afternoon in eastern Turkey, causing, according to Turkish media, considerable damage making and 50 wounded. Several houses and other buildings collapsed in the earthquake in the eastern province of Van, near the Iranian border, more than 1200 km east of the capital Ankara, reported the Anatolia news agency. She said 50 people had been hospitalized in the city of Van, where the airport was damaged and where the flights were diverted to Erzurum, about 400 km further north.

Anatolia said the aftershocks continued. One of them, occurred at 10:56 GMT and whose epicenter was located 19 kilometers northeast of Van, had a magnitude of 5.6, announced in the U.S. the USGS, the standard for earthquakes. The epicenter of the earthquake of magnitude 7.3 that occurred a quarter of an hour earlier at 10:41 GMT, was also 19 km northeast of the town and at a depth of 7.2 km, according to the USGS. The Kandilli seismology institute in Istanbul has meanwhile reported a magnitude of 6.6. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was in Istanbul during the earthquake was to leave immediately for Van with several ministers, including Health, depending on the private television channel NTV.

"Some buildings were damaged, but we have not received information about the victims. The quake caused a great panic," said Mayor Van, Bekir Kaya on NTV. In general, in remote villages where the houses are built of mud there the most damage. The mayor stressed that the telephone network of Van, which has 380,000 inhabitants, was heavily damaged. The quake, felt in neighboring provinces, led to a major panic. The first images released showed people fleeing their homes in any order and at least two multi-storey buildings destroyed. The Red Crescent has mobilized and started to send tents and emergency workers in the disaster area. "It's a powerful earthquake can wreak havoc," said the chairman of the charity.

An earthquake of this force is more likely to cause substantial damage to Turkey that many homes were built without the standards are fully met, seismologists have warned quoted by TV channels. Turkey, which is crossed by several faults, particularly in eastern and north-west, has frequent earthquakes. Two strong earthquakes in densely populated and industrialized northwest to about 20,000 had died in August and November 1999, and experts agree that the Istanbul region is threatened by a strong earthquake. In 1970, an earthquake killed more than 1,000 deaths in the province of K├╝tahya in north-west.