October 24th, 2011
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Turkey quake, 1000 deaths suspected

Ankara: Turkey is buried under rubble leaving around 1000 dead.  A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey yesterday, killing at least 85 people. The quake hit Turkey’s mountainous eastern region at 10.41 GMT with an epicentre in the village of Tabanli, 10 miles (17 kilometres) from Van, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Rescue teams are desperately searching for people trapped under huge mass of debris. Most of those injured are from the town of Ercis, where dozens of buildings fell.Turkish scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could already be dead, due to low local housing standards and the size of the quake.The hardest hit was Ercis, a city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border, which lies on the Ercis Fault in one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones. Van, some 55 miles (90 kilometres) to the south, also suffered substantial damage. As many as 80 buildings collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory, and 10 buildings collapsed in Van, the Turkish Red Crescent said. Some highways also caved in.

Frequent aftershocks were hampering search efforts. Tens of thousands have been sleeping outside in freezing conditions. Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines. Two earthquakes in 1999 with a magnitude of more than 7 killed almost 20,000 people in densely populated parts of the north-west of the country.

Israel on Sunday offered humanitarian assistance despite a rift in relations following a 2010 Israeli navy raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead. In September, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended military ties because Israel has not apologised. Israel has sent rescue teams to Turkey for past earthquakes in times of closer ties.

India said on Sunday its nationals in Turkey were reportedly safe. The Ministry of External Affairs said the Indian Embassy in Ankara had set up a helpline: Phone: + 90 530 4403216 (during office hours) and + 90 530 3142200 (outside office hours).


















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