Huge earthquake hits Turkey feared 1000 dead

Oct 24th, 2011

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Eastern Turkey near Iranian border at 15:31 local time, killing at least 138 people as buildings pancaked and crumpled into rubble. The death toll was expected to rise as rescuers sifted through the rubble and reached surrounding villages.

Thousands fled into the streets running, screaming or trying to reach relatives on cell phones as apartment and office buildings cracked or collapsed. As the full extent of the damage became clear, survivors dug in with shovels or even their bare hands, desperately trying to rescue the trapped and the injured.

The same quake was felt with a 4.6-magnitude in Iran’s Northwestern province of West Azarbaijan, including the city of Khoy.

Serious damage and casualties were reported in the district of Celebibag. The mayor, Veysel Keser, told NTV, “There are many people under the rubble. People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent help.

Earthquakes are frequent both in Iran and Turkey because both countries sit on major geological fault lines. In Iran, the deadliest quake happened in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. It devastated 27 towns and about 1,870 villages. In Turkey, two earthquakes in 1999 with a magnitude of more than 7 killed almost 20,000 people in densely populated parts of the Northwest of the country.

Iran’s Red Crescent Society has also announced preparedness to dispatch rescue teams and cargo aids to Turkey.

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