What we know about the earthquake in eastern Turkey?

Turkey, a country in a seismic belt and experienced several deadly earthquakes before faced with another one on Friday. An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 shook eastern Turkey on Friday night, killing at least 22 people, injuring more than a thousand, the authorities said.

The center of the quake was the town of Sivrice in Elazig province. The region struck by the quake, some 550km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, is remote and sparsely populated.

Around 40 people were pulled from rubbles of collapsed buildings. Authorities believe that there are 21 people buried in the wreckage still. The search and rescue efforts started at the early hours of Friday night and continue on Saturday. Some of the citizens trapped under the collapsed buildings reached to the search and rescue personnel via their mobile phones and informed them about their locations and situations — one of them, 45 years old women named Azize rescued by workers in the Mustafapaşa neighborhood in Elazığ.

The earthquake happened at about 08.55 pm local time (17:55 GMT) and lasted more than 40 seconds. The depth of the quake was 6.75 kilometers; it was close to the surface, says the chief of Kandilli Observatory, Haluk Özener. The US Geological Survey (USGS) announced that the quake struck at a relatively shallow depth, which enhanced the shaking felt at the surface.

Almost all the eastern parts of Turkey, the earthquake was felt by citizens. Tremors were also felt in neighboring Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Armenia, and Georgia. Even there were some reports from Israel says people in Tel Aviv felt it.

Haluk Ozener speaks at the press conference in the Kandilli Observatory.

A lot of people in affected cities, Elazığ and Malatya, spent the night on the streets. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said that there were more than 200 aftershocks recorded after the earthquake. They warned people not to return to damaged buildings in case of aftershocks.

The temperature around the area was between -7C to -12C. The Turkish State Meteorological Service warned citizens about the dangers of extreme cold and frost. Undamaged state buildings like schools and mosques were open for the citizens to spend the night, but there were people sleeping in their cars or DIY-tents too. Officials have sent beds, tents, and blankets to the area also.

The Turkish Red Crescent announced a crisis desk was set up in Ankara, and rescue teams dispatched to quake areas. Mobile kitchens, which serve up to 5,000 people, were sent to the region.

A lot of major municipalities sent their own search and rescue teams to the area also. And several aid campaigns have been started all around the country. Sports teams called for donations to their supporters and organizations like local NGOs and small associations already started to collect donations from citizens.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan flew to Elazığ, the central city of the quake, and attended the funeral of the mother and son victims of the earthquake. Several ministers who are at the scene also joined him. All political parties in Turkey also sent their own committees to the affected area.

The Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Friday night that the people who spread panic by sharing photos from previous earthquake sides will face legal consequences. And on Saturday, the chief public prosecutor’s office in Ankara stated that an investigation was launched against 26 people because of their provocative shares about the recent earthquake on social media. Later, Broadcasting High Authority of the Turkish Republic, Radio and Television Supreme Council, also known in short as RTÜK made and announcement. They said that an investigation launched about the media outlets broadcasted provocative and false content.

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Freelance journalist, former senior editor and reporter at T24. Covered a wide range of issues - from terrorist attacks to protests, elections, refugee crisis.

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Gonca Tokyol

Gonca Tokyol

Freelance journalist, former senior editor and reporter at T24. Covered a wide range of issues - from terrorist attacks to protests, elections, refugee crisis.

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