November 9th, 2011
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Turkey earthquake hits again, 3 died

Turkey earthquake Ankara, Turkey: An earthquake struck eastern Turkey yesterday night, killing at least three people and leaving dozens trapped in the rubble of toppled buildings damaged in a previous temblor, which had killed 600 people. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake measured 5.7 and that its epicenter was 16 kilometers (9 miles) south of Van. It struck at 9:23 p.m. (1923 GMT, 2:23 p.m. EST). This was a grim replay of the previous magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Oct. 23, killing more than 600 people.

About two-dozen buildings collapsed in the provincial capital of Van following a 5.7-magnitude quake, though most of them were empty or had been declared unfit because they were weakened by the earlier quake, according to media reports.

A deputy prime minister says rescue workers have pulled out 20 survivors from the rubble of three buildings, collapsed by an earthquake in eastern Turkey. He says at least five were killed and dozens of others trapped.

Atalay said that the rescue work is now concentrating at the site of two collapsed hotels and one apartment building. He says 20 survivors were pulled out along with the bodies of five people. Rescue workers used the glare of high-powered lights to work through the night. There were several aftershocks. A small fire broke out at a hospital but all patients were safely evacuated.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in Van to visit survivors of the previous quake on the last day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice. He said 15 people were rescued alive and transported to hospitals by air ambulance.

Davutoglu said rescue teams were searching for survivors under the wreckage of three buildings, and that 22 of the 25 buildings that collapsed in Van were empty.

One of the buildings that collapsed was the Bayram Hotel, Van’s best-known hotel. It was at least 40 years old, and had been renovated last year. Some of the guests were journalists who were covering the aftermath of the 7.2-magnitude quake on Oct. 23, which left thousands homeless and led a number of countries to send tents, blankets and other supplies to assist Turkey in the aid effort. A few journalists have also gone missing.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the quake toppled a hotel, a school and a number of mudbrick homes. He said rescue teams are being sent to the region from the capital, Ankara, and other areas. Workers have been clearing debris from the previous disaster for more than a week. Schools in the region are closed until Dec. 5.

The Turkish Red Crescent immediately dispatched 15,000 tents and some 300 rescue workers, TRT said. There was no damage in the town of Edremit, the quake’s epicenter.

About 1,400 aftershocks have rocked the region since the massive earthquake on Oct. 23, which killed 600 and left thousands homeless. Many residents had been living in tents, despite the cold, too afraid to return to their homes. At least 2,000 buildings were destroyed in the stronger temblor and authorities declared another 3,700 buildings unfit for living.

Turkey is criss-crossed with seismic faultines and experiences small tremors nearly every day. Some 20,000 people were killed by two large earthquakes in western Turkey in 1999.




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