UPDATE 8 – 12 killed, 522 injured in quake in Izmir, Aegean Turkey


By Zafer Fatih Beyaz, Firat Tasdemir, and Burak Bir

ANKARA (AA) – At least 12 people were killed and 522 others injured when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake jolted the city of Izmir on the Turkish Aegean on Friday, environment and urbanization minister said.

At least 144 aftershocks, with 21 of them more powerful than magnitude 4.0, were recorded after the quake, Murat Kurum told a news conference.

"1,227 search and rescue teams are operating in the field," Kurum said.

He added that eight injured people were in intensive care, while five others are in surgery.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said the quake occurred at 2.51 p.m. local time (1151GMT) at a depth of 16.54 kilometers (around 10 miles).

The agency noted that among the fatalities was a person who drowned following the quake.

Earlier, Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger said that the earthquake triggered a partial tsunami in the coastal district of Seferihisar, which left at least one person injured.

So far 70 people have been rescued from the debris, according to the governor.

Search and rescue work continues around 17 destroyed and damaged buildings in the city of some 4.37 million – Turkey’s third-largest city by population.

Over 50 vehicles and nearly 200 rescue workers were dispatched to the scene, AFAD added.

The Turkish Red Crescent also sent 48 staffers, 16 vehicles, and three mobile field kitchens which have the capacity to serve over 25,000 people.

Also, 960 disaster tents, 4,500 blankets, 3,672 beds were dispatched to the region, the disaster management agency added.

It also said emergency aid of 5 million Turkish liras (around $600,000) was sent to the region by the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry.

Later, AFAD said that another earthquake, magnitude 5.1, hit the Aegean Sea, 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) off the Kusadasi district of Turkey's Aydin province.

– Defense Ministry crisis desk

The National Defense Ministry has established a crisis desk in the wake of the earthquake, and two military helicopters are taking part in search and rescue efforts.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the quake was also felt in the metropolis, some 328 km (204 mi) north of Izmir, but it had not seen any ill effects.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said several neighboring provinces in the region, including Usak, Denizli, Manisa, Balikesir, Aydin, and Mugla, sustained minor damages to some buildings.

Earlier, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said that people were trapped under the debris of five buildings destroyed in the quake.

Kurum also said he was heading to the region, along with Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.

Adil Karaismailoglu, the transportation and infrastructure minister, said that there were no problems in transportation or communication following the tremor.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said ministry teams were directed to the region to avoid any problems with energy supplies.

Expressing solidarity, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey stands by its "citizens affected by the earthquake."

"We took action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers," Erdogan added.

Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun conveyed his condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in the earthquake.

"We pray that there is no further loss of live in Turkey or Greece and we send our best wishes to all those affected on both sides of the earthquake," he said on Twitter.

Altun added that Turkey is ready to help Greece if needed.

The National Observatory of Athens’ Institute of Geodynamics initially put the magnitude of the quake at 6.6 but later revised it to 6.7. The quake struck northwest of the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, said the observatory.

Two children were reported dead on the Greek island of Samos.