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Death toll climbs, hundreds hurt in earthquake in eastern Turkey

Quake death toll climbs

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked a sparsely-populated part of eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 18 people, injuring more than 500 and leaving some 30 trapped in the wreckage of toppled buildings, Turkish officials said.

Rescue teams from neighbouring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas, working in the dark with floodlights in the freezing cold, and Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help.

Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes.

TV footage showed rescuers pull out one injured person from the rubble of a collapsed building in the district of Gezin, in the eastern Elazig province. Around 30 were believed to be trapped inside collapsed structures in Elazig province, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.


ORIGINAL: 1:30 p.m.

Turkish officials say at least 14 people have been killed in an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 that shook the country's east, injuring more than 300 and leaving several trapped.

The earthquake struck near the town of Sivrice in eastern Elazig province, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Friday.

People in Elazig whose homes were damaged or were too afraid to go indoors were being moved to student dormitories or sports centres amid freezing conditions.

The quake caused some buildings to collapse, Turkish officials said.

The quake struck at 8:55 p.m. local time, at a depth of 6.7 kilometres near the town of Sivrice, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said. It was followed by several aftershocks, the strongest with magnitudes 5.4 and 5.1.

Elazig is 750 kilometres east of the capital, Ankara.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told NTV television that rescuers were trying to reach survivors after a four- or five-storey building collapsed in the town of Maden. 

Local administrator Cuma Telceken said up to seven people are believed to be trapped inside two collapsed buildings in Maden. Television footage showed rescuers searching for survivors among debris.



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