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Search, rescue efforts continue after earthquake in Turkey

Search, rescue efforts continue after earthquake in Turkey

Twenty-six people were killed and at least 804 injured when a magnitude-6.6 earthquake jolted Izmir on the Turkish Aegean on Friday, the Disaster Management Agency Authority (AFAD) said early Saturday.

At least 743 were injured in Izmir, and in neighboring provinces, five in Manisa, two in Balikesir and 54 in Aydin.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 435 people are receiving treatment, while 25 were in intensive care and nine are undergoing surgeries.

He also said 364 were discharged from hospitals, having completed treatment and that medical and rescue teams continued to work in Izmir to “alleviate the pain.”

At least 389 aftershocks, with 33 more powerful than magnitude-4.0, were recorded, according to AFAD.

Search and rescue operations have been completed in eight buildings in Izmir — Turkey’s third-largest city by population — while work continues in nine others, according to Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum, who said damage assessment work has begun in public buildings.

AFAD said the quake occurred at 2.51 p.m. local time (1151GMT) at a depth of 16.54 kilometers (10 miles).

It said one of the fatalities was a result of drowning.

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

More than 475 vehicles and nearly 4,000 rescue workers, along with 20 sniffer dogs, were dispatched to the scene.

The Coast Guard Command is participating with 116 personnel, 11 boats, three helicopters and one diving team.

The Turkish Red Crescent sent 112 staffers, 137 volunteers, 27 vehicles and five mobile field kitchens with a capacity to serve more than 25,000 people.

Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, said a capacity to feed 56,300 people was created in Izmir.

Also, 960 disaster tents, 4,500 blankets, 3,672 beds were sent to the region, according to AFAD.

Nearly 114,500 masks and 5,000 disinfectants were dispatched to the region to be distributed by the Turkish Red Crescent public health and psychosocial support teams.

A total of 836 vehicles and 6,049 personnel have been assigned to search and rescue, medical, psychosocial support and humanitarian aid in the region, according to Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Also, three mobile coordination trucks, seven military cargo aircraft, one unmanned aerial vehicle, six helicopters and 292 security personnel were dispatched to the region, it added.

Five million Turkish liras ($600,000) was sent to the region by the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry, and 3 million liras ($360,000) was provided by AFAD.

The agency said another earthquake, magnitude-5.1, hit the Aegean Sea, 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) off the Kusadasi district of Turkey’s Aydin province.

AFAD said another earthquake, magnitude-5.0, hit the Aegean Sea at 08.21 a.m. local time (0521GMT), 17.26 kilometers (10.72 miles) off Seferihisar.

Defense Ministry crisis desk

The National Defense Ministry established a crisis desk and two military helicopters are taking part in search and rescue efforts.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the quake was also felt in his city, 328 kilometers (204 miles) north of Izmir, but the metropolis did not suffer any damage.

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

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

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli personally spoke via telephone with several victims who were stuck under debris and later rescued.

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

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said an investigation was initiated by the provincial Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and autopsy procedures and forensic medicine services were provided without interruption.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed solidarity and said 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,” he added.

Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun conveyed condolences to the families and friends of those killed.

“We pray that there is no further loss of life 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.

It struck northwest of the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, said the observatory.

Two children were reported killed on Samos.