Earthquake in Turkey: At least 27 people were killed and more than 800 were injured

Saving teams searched on Saturday in the concrete blocks and debris of eight fallen buildings to find the survivors from a strong earthquake that hit Turkey’s Aegean coast and north of the Greek island of Samos, and causing the death of 27 people, and more than 800 others were wounded.

The earthquake struck Friday afternoon, destroying buildings in Izmir, which is considered the third largest city in Turkey, and causing a small tsunami in the district of Seferihisar and on Samos, and hundreds of aftershocks followed the quake.

Spectators applauded early on Saturday when a teenager Inci Okan has been saved out of the rubble of a destructive eight-floor apartment bloc. Friends and relatives waited outside the building for news about their loved ones that were still confined inside, including workers of a dentist’s surgery that was situated on the ground floor. Besides, two other women, with the age of 53 and 35, were also saved from another failed two-story building.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, almost 24 people were dead in Izmir, including an old woman who has drowned. Moreover, two teenagers were dead on Samos after being hit by a failing wall. Health authorities declared that almost 19 people were wounded on the island, with two, including a 14-year-old, being airlifted to Athens and seven hospitalized on the island.

Otherwise, the small tsunami that stuck on the Turkish coast also affected Samos, and seawater inundating streets in the main harbor town of Vathi. Authorities alerted people to stay away from the coast and from potentially destroyed buildings.

The earthquake that the Kandilli Institute declared that it had a magnitude of 6.9, struck at 2:51 p.m. (1151 GMT) in Turkey and was centered in the Aegean northeast of Samos, while AFAD reported that it measured 6.6.

In fact, the earthquake was felt through the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria. In Turkey, it rocked the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including Istanbul, and the governor of Istanbul said that there were no reports of destruction in the city, which represent the largest one in Turkey.

Authorities alerted residents in Izmir to not return to the destructive buildings, and said that they could collapse in strong aftershocks. In addition, more than 3,000 saving personnel were sent to Izmir, as well as relief supplies, and the Turkish Red Crescent established kitchens.

Greek and Turkish government officials published mutual mails of solidarity while the presidents of Greece and Turkey made a telephone discussion, in a show of solidarity rare in recent months of tense bilateral ties.

Actually, ties between Turkey and Greece have been mainly tense, with war vessels from both facing off in the eastern Mediterranean in a conflict about maritime boundaries and energy survey rights. The continuing tension has conducted to fears of open conflict between the two neighbors and NATO allies.

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