A strong earthquake in the Aegean Sea has rattled Greece and areas of western Turkey, killing several people. The magnitude 7.0 quake reportedly caused several buildings to collapse in Turkey’s Izmir.
A powerful earthquake struck parts of Turkey and Greece on Friday, killing several people and leaving scores injured.
The earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea, rattling areas of western Turkey and several eastern Greek islands, as well as the capital Athens. Tremors were also felt in Bulgaria.
Turkey’s disaster authority said the earthquake’s magnitude was 6.6, while the US Geological Survey placed its magnitude higher at 7.0.
Buildings toppled in Turkey’s Izmir
At least four people were killed and 120 injured in the Turkish city of Izmir, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
He added that 38 ambulances, two medical helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams have been deployed in the city.
Numerous buildings in the western Turkish city of Izmir have collapsed, with rescuers rushing to save people trapped under the rubble.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry reported that six buildings were destroyed, while the city’s major reported at least 20 buildings had collapsed.
Local Turkish media and residents posted videos on social media showing the wreckage of a multiple story building, with people climbing on top of the rubble.
Izmir is the third-biggest city in Turkey, with around 4.5 million residents.
Small tsunami in Greece
In Greece, four people sustained minor injuries on the island of Samos, which was also hit by a mini-tsunami following the quake.
People have been advised to stay away from the coastline and away from buildings as aftershocks continue to rattle the area.
“It is an event that is evolving,” Greek seismologist Efthymis Lekkas told state broadcaster ERT.
Water rose above the dock in the main harbor of the island, flooding the streets of Samos. The walls of several homes on the island have collapsed and other buildings were reportedly damaged.
Rescue operations underway
Concerns are growing about people trapped in the rubble in Turkey, with rescue teams searching for survivors.
These [rescue] efforts are extremely dangerous and extremely difficult,” DW correspondent Dorian Jones said.
Speaking from Istanbul, Jones said that emergency services from across Turkey are rolling in to Izmir to help with search and rescue operations.
Jones added that there have been “major efforts” taking place to build safer buildings that can withstand more powerful earthquakes.
In January, at least 38 people died when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, causing buildings to collapse in the city of Elazig.
In 1999, over 17,000 people were killed when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Izmit outside Istanbul.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information emerges.
rs/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)