JNN Oct.24th. 2011. Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin says the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey has killed over 200 people while experts estimate that the death toll could top 1,000.
JNN Oct.24th. 2011. The epicenter of the earthquake, which struck the area on Sunday afternoon, was in the village of Tabanli in Van province.
Overseeing emergency operations in Ercis, one of the worst-hit towns, the Turkish interior minister said on Monday that 117 people were confirmed dead in Ercis and 100 in the city of Van, Reuters reported.
Sahin added that at least 1,090 people had been injured by the quake.
Officials said hundreds of people remained unaccounted for and rescue teams worked through the night looking for survivors beneath the rubble.
Earlier, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the eastern city of Van, close to the border with Iran.
Experts from Turkey’s main seismography center said that the death toll could top 1,000.
The Kandilli seismographic observatory made the estimate based on the strength of the quake and the architecture of structures in the area.
The earthquake also jolted buildings in neighboring Armenia and Iran. It is the strongest temblor to hit Turkey in almost a decade.
Sunday’s earthquake shook the ground furiously and left buildings in piles of twisted steel and blocks of concrete.
Bekir Kaya, the mayor of Van, the capital of the eastern province of the same name, said two buildings collapsed in the city and the telephone system was jammed because so many people were making calls at the same time.
In 1999, about 18,000 people died in two powerful earthquakes that struck the northwestern part of Turkey.