Strong Earthquake Rocks Eastern Turkey

Posted October 23rd, 2011 at 10:10 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 magnitude 7.2 quake struck Van province on Sunday .

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay says 25 to 30 buildings and a dormitory collapsed in the town of Ercis, and another 10 buildings fell in the city of Van.

Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency reported earlier that at least 50 people had been injured.

Television footage showed collapsed buildings and crushed vehicles in Van and scores of people with shovels and pry bars clawing through wreckage for survivors. The mayor of 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.