Powerful quake hits Turkey, kills 19
Published: 12:40 PM, 25 January 2020 Updated: 12:56 PM, 25 January 2020
At least 19 people were killed and hundreds injured as a powerful earthquake hit eastern Turkey on Saturday, officials say.
The 6.8 magnitude quake, centred on the small lakeside town of Sivrice in the eastern province of Elazig, caused buildings to collapse and sent residents rushing into the street. Tremors were also felt in neighbouring Syria, Lebanon and Iran.
According to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), there were 60 aftershocks recorded after the earthquake.
It said more than 400 rescue teams are heading towards the region, along with beds and tents for those displaced. It warned people not to return to damaged buildings in case of aftershocks.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all steps were being taken to aid people affected by the quake, which caused widespread fear. “We stand by our people,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
"It was very scary - the furniture fell on top of us. We rushed outside," AFP news agency quoted 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the city of Elazig, as saying.
The governor of Elazig said eight people had died in the province, while the governor of neighbouring Malatya said six died there.
The region struck by the quake, some 550km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, is remote and sparsely populated, so details of damage and fatalities could be slow to emerge.
Officials have sent beds, tents and blankets to the area, where overnight temperatures regularly fall below zero.
Sivrice, a town of about 4,000 people, is a popular tourist spot on the shore of Hazar lake, the source of the river Tigris.
Earthquakes are common in Turkey - about 17,000 people including 1,000 in the country’s largest city Istanbul died in a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake in the western city of Izmit in 1999.
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