Turkey Earthquake 2011 – People in Tabanli village in Van province, eastern Turkey, work to rescue earthquake victims trapped in a building that collapsed in Sunday’s 7.2-magnitude quake. It’s the strongest earthquake in 2011.
Rescuers searched throughout the night among pancaked buildings as families members waited outside, some in tears. Cranes and other heavy equipment lifted slabs of concrete and residents searched for the missing with shovels.
Aid groups scrambled to set up tents, field hospitals and kitchens to assist thousands left homeless or who were afraid to re-enter their homes.
Survivor Yalcin Akay was dug from a collapsed 6-story building with a leg injury after he called a police emergency line on his phone and described his location, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. Three other people, including two children, were also rescued from the same building in the city of Ercis some 20 hours after the quake struck, officials said.
Officials said hundreds of mud-brick homes in villages and concrete buildings in two cities tumbled down in the earthquake that struck near the border with Iran, on Sunday. Worst-hit was the city of Ercis, an eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border and one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones, where about 80 multistory buildings collapsed.
Turkey Earthquake 2011 Kills 239 People
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said 239 people were killed in the quake and more than a thousand others were injured.
The bustling, larger city of Van, about 55 miles south of Ecris, also sustained substantial damage, but Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said search efforts there were winding down. Sahin said he expected the death toll in Ercis to rise, but not as substantially as initially feared.
U.S. scientists recorded more than 100 aftershocks in eastern Turkey within 10 hours of the quake, including one with a magnitude of 6.0. More recently, a 6.0-magnitude quake in March 2010 killed 51 people in eastern Turkey, while in 2003, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingol. Istanbul, the country’s largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line. Experts have warned that overcrowding and shoddy construction in Istanbul could kill tens of thousands if a major earthquake struck there.