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At least 38 dead and over 800 injured following strong earthquake off Turkish coast

The quake toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city.

Updated Oct 31st 2020, 5:45 PM

earthquake-of-magnitude-7-0-hits-turkey Several buildings were wrecked in Turkey's western Izmir province Source: Depo Photos/ABACA via PA Images

THE DEATH TOLL has risen after a strong earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, with officials saying least 38 people are dead and more than 800 have been injured.

The earthquake, which the Istanbul-based Kandilli Institute said had a magnitude of 6.9, was centred in the Aegean north-east of Samos, while Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said it measured 6.6 and hit at a depth of some 10 miles.

The quake toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, and triggered a small tsunami in the district of Seferihisar and on Samos before being followed by hundreds of aftershocks.

A number of members of one family were rescued alive from the rubble of a collapsed building today. 

Rescue teams made contact with 38-year old Seher Perincek and her four children — aged three, seven and 10-year-old twins — inside a fallen building in Izmir and cleared a corridor to bring them out.

One by one, the mother and three of her children were removed from the rubble as rescuers applauded or hugged.

Efforts were still under way to rescue the remaining child, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The survivors, including 10-year-old Elzem Perincek, were moved into ambulances on stretchers.

“I’m fine; I was rescued because only one of my feet was pinned. That foot really hurt,” she said.

The health minister, as well as rescue worker Ahmet Yavuz, told HaberTurk television hours later that one of the children had died after being rescued.

They were still trying to reach the other child, Mr Yavuz said.

More than 5,500 rescuers from different agencies and cities worked together to reach survivors, at times hushing the crowds to listen into the rubble with sensitive headphones and crawling through the cracks.

A 65-year-old man was saved 26 hours after the quake.

Early today, onlookers also cheered as rescuers lifted teenager Inci Okan out of the rubble of a devastated eight-floor apartment block.

Friends and relatives waited outside the building for news of loved ones still trapped inside, including employees of a dentist’s surgery that was located on the ground floor.

greece-earthquake A collapsed wall led to the deaths of two teenagers on the Greek island of Samos Source: Michael Svarnias via PA Images

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were rescued from another collapsed two-storey building.

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At least 36 people were killed in Izmir, including an elderly woman who drowned, according to AFAD.

Two teenagers were killed on Samos after being struck by a collapsing wall.

At least 19 people were injured on the island, with two, including a 14-year-old, airlifted to Athens and seven taken to hospitals on the island, health authorities said.

It was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria.

In Turkey, it shook the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including the country’s largest city Istanbul, whose governor said there were no reports of damage.

Turkey is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 87,000 people in north-western Turkey.

Earthquakes are also frequent in Greece.

In a show of solidarity rare in recent months of tense bilateral relations, Greek and Turkish government officials issued mutual messages of solidarity while the countries’ presidents held a telephone conversation.

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