Major quake death toll rises to 49 in Turkey

By: AFP      Published: 03:39 PM, 1 Nov, 2020
Major quake death toll rises to 49 in Turkey

Rescue workers were searching eight buildings in Izmir Sunday, despite dwindling hope for survivors, as the death toll of a powerful magnitude earthquake which hit western Turkey rose to 49.

The 7.0-magnitude quake has also injured 896 in Turkey, the Turkish emergency authority AFAD said, after striking on Friday afternoon near the west coast town of Seferihisar in Izmir province.

More than 200 people were in hospital, AFAD said, and rescuers were still searching eight buildings in Izmir.

Overnight, 33 hours after the quake, a 55-year-old man named by state news agency Anadolu as Ahmet was pulled out from underneath the rubble to applause of onlookers and taken to hospital.

The worst affected Turkish town was Bayrakli, where anxious families in thick blankets spent a second night in tents. Others watched nervously as rescue workers sorted through the debris for a second day.

Some privately expressed concern that their hope was slowly diminishing as the hours pass by.

But a worker at the site of one collapsed building, who did not wish to be named, told AFP they believed at least 10 people could still be under the rubble.

Nearly 6,000 rescuers have been working all day and all night since Friday, mechanical diggers helping them remove blocks of concrete.

Periodically, the rescue work has been halted and everyone kept silent to listen for any indication of someone trapped in the rubble.

Thousands of tents have been set in the areas around the collapsed buildings since officials warn residents to avoid returning to their homes.

Turkey has reported more than 800 aftershocks following the quake, including 40 that were above four in magnitude.

Turkey has suffered the deadliest quakes of 2020, Turkish website HaberTurk noted. As well as this latest disaster, an earlier quake in January killed more than 40 people in the eastern provinces of Elazig and Malatya.

Two teenagers on their way home from school were also killed in Greece, as the quake caused a mini-tsunami on the Greek island of Samos and a rush of water from the sea that turned streets into rivers in one Turkish town.

Friday's earthquake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Istanbul and Athens. The disaster has prompted Greece and Turkey to put aside their differences and work together to help those affected.