Death toll and Damage Count Continues to Rise From Turkey Earthquake

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Pastor Dale Morgan

Mar 9, 2010, 2:58:23 AM3/9/10
Great Earthquakes In Diverse Places

Death toll and Damage Count Continues to Rise From Turkey Earthquake

A dead donkey lies in rubble of destroyed houses in the village of Okcular, on March 8, 2010. A powerful pre-dawn earthquake buried sleeping villagers in remote eastern Turkey, claiming at least 51 lives and leaving dozens injured, officials said. Measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, the tremor struck at 4:32 am (0232 GMT), razing mud-brick houses in five mountainous villages in a mainly Kurdish area and killing whole families in their beds. Photo courtesy AFP.

Search operations called off after Turkey quake: official

Ankara (AFP) March 8, 2010 - Search-and-rescue operations in remote villages in eastern Turkey were called off Monday, some eight hours after a powerful quake hit the region, claiming at least 57 lives, officials said. "According to the information we have, no one remains under the rubble. The work has been ended," an official from a crisis desk at the governor's office in Elazig province, told AFP by telephone. Provincial governor Muammer Erol also said that "no one now remains under the debris," in remarks carried by Anatolia news agency. The crisis desk official said they would announce later how many people had been pulled alive from the rubble. The tremor, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, struck at 4:32 am (0232 GMT), razing dozens of mud-brick houses and killing whole families in their sleep. More than 50 people were injured.

Moderate quake hits Taiwan

Taipei (AFP) March 8, 2010 - A 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan Monday, the central weather bureau said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The quake struck at 5:26 pm (0926 GMT) about 16 kilometres (10 miles) southeast of southern Chiayi city with the epicentre 14 kilometres underground. Last week, a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south of the island, derailing a carriage on a high-speed train, toppling farm houses and momentarily cutting off electricity to more than half a million homes. Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates. In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island's history.

by Staff Writers
Okcular, Turkey (AFP) March 8, 2010

A powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey on Monday buried villagers as they slept in mud-brick houses, killing at least 57 and injuring dozens more, officials said.

The quake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, struck at 4:32 am (0232 GMT) at a depth of five kilometres, with an epicentre near the Karakocan town in Elazig province, the Istanbul-based Kandilli observatory said.

Rescuers struggled to dig survivors from the rubble after the tremor tore down mud-brick houses in several mountainous villages in the mainly Kurdish area, killing whole families in their sleep.

Visiting the region, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek put the death toll at 57, adding that more than 50 people were injured.

At least four of the dead were children, official said, and nine of the injured were in critical condition.

"It started shaking -- first slowly and then violently. I was terrified and began crying... The cupboard fell over and then the television set exploded," said Zeynep Yuksel, a teenage girl in the worst-hit village of Okcular.

A total of 18 people perished in Okcular, a Kurdish settlement of some 900 people, nestled in hills at a height of about 1,800 metres (5,900 feet).

Wrapped in blankets and cuddling babies, women wailed around a bonfire as Red Crescent workers began erecting tents and distributing food and other emergency supplies to survivors.

"I rushed out after the tremor, looked to one side and saw nothing, then looked to the other side -- again nothing. Everything had collapsed," a middle-age woman, who did not give her name, said.

"I pulled out the two kids from the rubble with bare hands. They were both dead," said the woman, who lost a sister-in-law and two nephews in the quake.

Villagers scrambled to recover any valuables from the debris, and some left for nearby towns to take shelter with relatives.

About 30 houses were destroyed in Okcular alone, Yasar Cagribay, head of a rescue team, told CNN Turk.

The quake also killed many livestock, the main livelihood for the village.

In nearby Yukari Demirci, 13 people were killed, among them a family of nine.

The villages of Yukari Kanatli, Kayalik and Gocmezler were also seriously hit.

"Villages consisting mainly of mud-brick houses have been damaged, but we have minimal damage such as cracks in buildings made of cement or stone," provincial governor Muammer Erol said.

The local hospital was inundated with the injured, the CNN Turk news channel said, adding that medical reinforcements and aid had been sent.

The tremor, felt also in the neighbouring provinces of Bitlis and Diyarbakir, sent residents out onto the streets in panic. They spent the night outside fearing new shocks, CNN-Turk said.

Major earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by several active fault-lines.

Two powerful tremors in the heavily populated and industrialized northwest claimed about 20,000 lives in August and November 1999.
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