Turkey earthquake kills 22 and injures 1,103 as rescuers dig for survivors

World Faizah Kamal 25-Jan-2020
Turkey earthquake
ID 142378912 © Nikiforov Oleg | Dreamstime.com

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey reached 22 on January 25 as rescuers searched for survivors trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The 6.8 magnitude quake shook the Elazığ province, which is about 550 km (340 miles) east of Turkey’s capital Ankara. The quake was followed by more than 390 aftershocks, 14 of which reached magnitudes of over 4.

Eighteen people were killed in Elazığ and four more in the neighbouring province of Malatya, said Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Presidency (AFAD), adding that 1,103 others were injured and in hospitals in the region. The AFAD said rescue efforts were underway at three different sites in Elazığ.

Turkish broadcasters showed footage of rescuers pulling people out from under the debris around 17 hours after the quake occurred.

Speaking in Elazığ, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said an estimated 22 people were still trapped under debris. AFAD later said 40 people had been rescued so far.

A woman was rescued on January 25 from the rubble of a collapsed house 17 hours after the earthquake.

The live broadcast of rescue efforts showed that a female rescue worker was speaking over the phone with the trapped woman, identified as Azize, in an attempt to calm her down during the rescue operation.

Rescue teams worked through the night with their bare hands, drills and mechanical diggers to remove bricks and plaster from collapsed buildings in Elazığ, where the overnight temperature dipped to -8 degrees celsius.

Speaking alongside Soylu, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 128 wounded people were receiving treatment and that 34 of those were in intensive care, but not in a critical condition. He added that additional medical centres would be set up if necessary.