Powerful earthquake jolts Turkey and Greece, killing at least 26

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Locals and officials search for survivors at a collapsed building after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday and was felt in both Greece and Turkey, where some buildings collapsed in the coastal province of Izmir, Turkey, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Tuncay Dersinlioglu

 

At least 26 people were killed in Turkey and Greece when a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday afternoon, sending buildings crashing down and triggering what authorities have called a “mini tsunami.”

Officials said 24 people were killed in coastal areas in Turkey’s west, while two teenagers — a boy and a girl — died on the Greek island of Samos after a wall collapsed on them.

In Turkey, at least 20 buildings in the city of Izmir alone were destroyed. Images showed vehicles crushed under the buildings and people digging through the rubble in search of survivors.

At least 804 people have been injured in Turkey, said the country’s disaster agency. Dozens were saved by rescue teams using diggers and helicopters to search for survivors.

A total of 196 aftershocks have been recorded, 23 of which were over 4.0 magnitude, the agency added. Search and rescue operations continue in 17 buildings, four of which have collapsed, said Murat Kurum, Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Minister.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that among Turkey’s injured, five people are being operated on and eight are in intensive care

TV footage showed water flooding through the streets of Cesme and Seferihisar in parts of Turkey’s wider Izmir province, as well as on the Greek island of Samos, in what officials described as a “mini tsunami.” No tsunami warnings were issued.

Idil Gungor, who works as a journalist and runs a guesthouse in the Turkish town of Siğacik in Izmir province, said that the area was damaged more by the force of the water than the quake itself.

Her guesthouse, in a 100-year-old building, had been inundated and fish were swimming inside it, she said. Shops in town have also been flooded and their goods damaged.

“Everybody is calm but shocked and we’re wondering what will happen, if there’s a second tsunami coming or not,” Gungor said.