At least 20 buildings have collapsed and Turkish rescue teams are working to rescue survivors who have been trapped
A strong earthquake shook the Turkish Aegean coast on Friday and caused at least two deaths in Greece and another six in Turkey, where there are also about 260 injured, as reported by the Turkish Government Agency for Disasters and Emergencies (AFAD ). The most affected locality has been Izmir, the third-largest city in Turkey, and one of its economic poles, where at least 20 buildings have collapsed. Rescue crews try to remove people who have been caught in a race against time before the lack of light makes work difficult. At the moment, 70 people have been rescued alive from under the rubble.
The earthquake occurred at 2:51 p.m. local time (two hours less on the Peninsula) in the waters of the Aegean Sea, 17 kilometers from the Turkish coast, and at a depth of almost 12 kilometers. Although initially, the Kandilli Seismological Institute in Istanbul announced that the magnitude of the earthquake was 6.8, later it was raised to 6.9. The counterpart institution in the United States places the magnitude at 7. The main earthquake has been followed by several strong aftershocks, some even with a magnitude greater than 5. The Turkish and Greek experts warn that in the coming weeks there could be new earthquakes of gravity and magnitude greater than 5 and warn of the danger of returning to buildings that may have suffered damage even if they are not perceptible to the naked eye.
Turkish televisions have shown images of several buildings of up to nine floors completely destroyed and where rescue teams worked around the clock to try to remove the rubble. Serdar Sandal, mayor of Bayrakli, the district of Izmir where most buildings have been damaged, explained that even a nine-story building has collapsed, although the teams have managed to rescue at least one woman alive and are trying to remove a child they have already located. The authorities have asked citizens to stay abroad and not return to their homes if they are damaged. The Directorate of Religious Affairs has announced that the mosques will remain open to accommodate those who cannot return home.
At sea, the earthquake has produced a tsunami and the waves have washed away several sailboats in the port of Sigacik. “The sea withdrew and came back with great force after eight minutes. Unfortunately, later we found out that the wave had drowned a neighbor of ours, almost 90 years old, “he explained to the Habertürk chain.Yasa Keles, mayor of this small tourist town: “The shops, the center, all of that is over. Fortunately, there has not been so much damage to the neighbors’ houses ”. The mayor of the coastal town of Seferihisar, Ismail Yetiskin, explained that water has also entered there and flooded several houses. “We do not have information on the deceased but there probably are,” he announced. It has also said that it has not been possible to establish contact with the fishermen of the town who at the time of the earthquake were fishing in the sea.
Also on the Greek island of Samos, several waves have reached that have covered the streets with water and flooded the premises of the promenade. On this island, two teenagers have died after being trapped by a wall that collapsed in their wake.
“We are with the victims of the earthquake with all the means at the disposal of the State,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has already contacted the authorities to mobilize resources from other provinces and help those affected. Despite the tense relations between the two countries in recent months, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has contacted his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavusoglu, to offer the necessary support.
“I have telephoned President Erdogan to offer my condolences for the tragic loss of life after the earthquake that shook our countries. Whatever our differences, these are times when our people must remain united ”, published the Greek head of Government, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on his Twitter account.