Death count due to earthquake in Turkey’s Izmir mounts to 75, more than 1,000 reported injured

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Photo: Middle east eye

As rescue teams in the Turkish port city of Izmir continue the search for survivors of Friday’s powerful (7.0 magnitude) earthquake, the death in the Turkish city has mounted to 75 and 1,000 are reported injured.

Reportedly, there are nearly 6,000 rescuers who work day and night since Friday in Izmir, racing to free dozens of people still trapped in several collapsed apartment buildings.

The recent survivor, a 70-year-old man was pulled out from the rubble and taken to hospital after around 33 hours of the quake. He is doing well at a hospital, the Health Minister of Turkey Fahrettin Koca confirmed on his Tweeter handle.

The Minister tweeted that the survivor, Ahmet Citim, told him, “I never lost hope.” The operation that saved Citim was the latest in a series of remarkable rescues.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAS), the death has mounted to  73 in Izmir. The AFSAS said that 961 people were injured, with more than 220 still receiving treatment, after the earthquake hitnear the west coast town of Seferihisar in Izmir province.

International reports quoting Vice President of Turkey Fuat Oktay said that nearly 300 buildings were damaged and most of them were partially affected. He said that 26 badly damaged building would be demolished.

The worst affected Turkish town was Bayrakli, where anxious families in thick blankets spent a second night in tents and other people watched nervously as resume workers went through the debris for the second day. Thousands of tents have been set in the since officials warned residents to avoid returning to their homes, reports mentioned.

Some people privately expressed concern hoping to find more survivors as one of the workers told an international news agency AFP that they believed at least 10 people could still be inside the rubble.

“It will be a miracle if they are found alive,” the news agency quoted a woman saying while waiting to hear news of a family friend was overheard telling another.

A Turkey-based newspaper Hurriyet daily, citing local district reports, said two of the buildings where rescue efforts are concentrated were in poor shape in 2012 and 2018 respectively, with “low-quality concrete” used to build them.

The newspaper said the “damning” report on one building assessed it was “at-risk” based on earthquake safety requirements and advised that “necessary measures” be taken to increase safety.

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

Friday’s earthquake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Istanbul and Athens. The quake is Turkey’s deadliest so far this year, Turkish website HaberTurk noted. One in January killed more than 40 people in the eastern provinces of Elazig and Malatya.

Turkey has witnessed repeated earthquakes that have caused massive destruction, including the huge earthquake measuring more than 7.0 magnitude centred on the western city of Izmit in 1999 which killed 17,000 people, including around 1,000 in Istanbul.

There have been fears over future disasters and how prepared Turkey is, despite Ankara’s tougher rules on building safety and insurance since 1999.


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