Locals and officials search for survivors at a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey, after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on 30 October 2020 (Reuters)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara
Published date: 30 October 2020
An earthquake of up to 7.0 magnitude hit Izmir province in the west of Turkey, near the Aegean sea, leaving at least 12 people dead, 419 injured and several buildings destroyed.
Images on social media showed water rushing through the streets of Izmir from an apparent sea surge.
During live remarks, Murat Kuru, the Turkish minister of environment and urbanization, said the quake had hit Izmir’s Bayrakli district, where a number of people were trapped under the rubble.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (Afad) put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.6, while the US Geological Survey said it was 7.0.
The quake struck at around 2.50pm (1150 GMT) and was felt along Turkey’s Aegean coast and the northwestern Marmara region, media said.
The epicentre of the earthquake was reported as 17km outside of the town of Seferihisar, in the Aegean sea.
Residents of the Greek island of Samos, which has a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas, Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece’s organisation for anti-seismic planning, told Greece’s Skai TV.
“It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one,” said Lekkas. High tidal wave warnings were in place in Samos.
Izmir mayor Tunc Soyer said there were at least 20 buildings completely collapsed in the province.
The tremors were felt in the north, near Kocaeli and even Istanbul.
Footage broadcast on Haberturk TV showed some buildings completely collapsed, while a dust cloud billowed through the air.
A Middle East Eye correspondent in Izmir said: “The buildings shook for around 15 seconds.
“Most people ran out on to the streets and could be seen phoning their families once the shaking had ended.
“Many people are still waiting outside in the streets and parks rather than returning to their homes for fear of aftershocks.
“Several ambulances can be heard criss-crossing through the streets.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a tweet that his government had been using every resource at its disposal to help citizens, as emergency services began to work to save people from the rubble.
Earthquakes are a common occurence in Turkey; nearly 17,000 people died in a quake in the western city of Izmit in 1999.