Death toll from eastern Turkey earthquake climbs to 20

Nellie Chapman
January 25, 2020

A powerful natural disaster has killed at least 21 people and injured more than 1,000 in eastern Turkey, as rescue teams searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors on Saturday.

Erdogan canceled his scheduled attendance at the 33rd general assembly and award ceremony of Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) at Lutfi Kirdar International Convention and Exhibition Center in Istanbul.

The quake struck near the town of Sivrice in eastern Elazig province, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Friday.

Turkish authorities said over 1,000 people had been injured, while 22 had been killed, with 13 deaths happening in Elazig.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said some 30 people were trapped in the debris of toppled buildings.

A powerful quake killed at least 21 people and injured more than 1,000 in eastern Turkey, as rescue teams searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors on Saturday. "We rushed outside", AFP news agency quoted 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the city of Elazig, as saying.

The US Geological Survey assessed the magnitude as 6.7, slightly lower than AFAD, adding that it struck near the East Anatolian Fault in an area that has suffered no documented large ruptures since an natural disaster in 1875.

Rescue teams from neighbouring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas, working in the dark with floodlights, and defence minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help.

Deadly coronavirus claims 41 lives in China; 1,287 confirmed cases, 237 critical
Almost all flights at Wuhan's airport have been cancelled and checkpoints blocked the main roads leading out of town on Friday. Paramedics and doctors were forced to wear protective clothing and face masks to guard against being infected themselves.


Turkish television showed images of people rushing outside in panic, as well as a fire on the roof of a building.

Rescue workers carry a survivor on a stretcher at the site of a collapsed residential building in Elazig on Saturday.

Turkey has a history of powerful earthquakes.

"We have sent four teams to the quake region", Recep Salci of Turkey's Search and Rescue Association (AKUT) told AFP.

Turkey's leading communications companies announced they would provide residents in the quake region with internet and that phone calls would be free of charge.

Earthquakes are common in Turkey - about 17,000 people died in a massive quake in the western city of Izmit in 1999.

Turkish media said the quake sent people running outdoors for safety.

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