Earthquake Rocks Eastern Turkey

Posted October 23rd, 2011 at 9:15 am (UTC-5)
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A strong earthquake has hit southeastern Turkey near the border with Iran. There are initial reports of damages and casualties, but no firm figures.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 7.2 quake struck Sunday in Van province at a depth of 20 kilometers. Turkey's Kandilli Observatory recorded the quake's magnitude at 6.6.

Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency is reporting collapsed buildings in the city of Van and says several aftershocks have been recorded. The agency said at least 50 people have been injured.

Television footage showed collapsed buildings and crushed vehicles in the city and scores of people with shovels and pry bars clawing through wreckage for survivors. The mayor of nearby Ercis issued a call for urgent aid, saying “there are so many dead.”

Major geological fault lines cross the region and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence.