Death toll rises to 36 and at least 1,607 hospitalized in Turkey earthquake

By Isil Sariyuce, Hamdi Alkhshali and Amir Vera | CNN | 26 Jan 2020.

Rescue workers search through the rubble in Elazig on Saturday. Image: CNN.

Istanbul, Turkey: At least 36 people died and more than 1,607 have been hospitalized in eastern Turkey after an earthquake rattled the region on Friday evening, according to state broadcaster TRT Haber.

The 6.7-magnitude quake struck near the town of Sivrice, in eastern Elazig province, causing at least 10 buildings to collapse, Interior Minister Sulyman Soylu said.

About 1,607 people were hospitalized, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management President (AFAD) said on Sunday.

At least 45 people have been rescued from collapsed buildings, AFAD said, adding that 1,521 buildings have been inspected, with 76 found to be collapsed and 645 heavily damaged.

Most of the injured were in Elazig province, the epicentre of the earthquake.

Video from Turkey’s IHA Broadcasting Services shows emergency crews rescuing injured people from a collapsed building.

The earthquake caused five buildings to collapse in Elazig and heavy damage to a number of buildings in the area, Minister of Environment and Urbanization Murat Kurum told reporters.

Preliminary reports say the earthquake lasted 40 seconds, AFAD said, adding that 3,699 search and rescue personnel have been deployed.

Fifteen aftershocks have been felt in the wake, with the strongest registering at 5.4 magnitude, Soylu said. The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), which enhances the shaking felt at the surface.

About 500,000 people felt strong to very strong shaking, the USGS reported. The earthquake was felt in several other countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

The quake interrupted a live broadcast of Edessa TV. Video of the broadcast shows four anchors talking while everything shakes around them.

All relevant departments were taking measures to ensure the safety of citizens following the earthquake, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday. Interior, health and environment ministers were sent to the quake-hit area.

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