News / Europe

Rescue Efforts Continue After Turkey Earthquake

Rescuers work to save people from of collapsed buildings in Ercis, Van, eastern Turkey, October 24, 2011.
Rescuers work to save people from of collapsed buildings in Ercis, Van, eastern Turkey, October 24, 2011.
Dorian Jones

Search efforts are continuing in southeastern Turkey for survivors of Sunday's powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The number of dead reported has exceeded 200 and the death toll is expected to continue to rise.

Rescue workers are racing against time to find the hundreds of people believed to be trapped under the rubble of buildings that fell after the the quake.

Authorities say the 7.2 magnitude quake collapsed or severely damaged thousands of buildings.

Despite battling against the numerous aftershocks, rescue efforts have been successful.

People rescue a woman trapped under debris after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, collapsing about 45 buildings in Van province,October 23, 2011.
People rescue a woman trapped under debris after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, collapsing about 45 buildings in Van province,October 23, 2011.

A women is dug out of her collapsed apartment block after being trapped for 10 hours. She calls out for her mother, who was injured.

The survivors are from the town Ercis, one of the worst hit areas where as many as 100 buildings were reported collapsed.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Van, the main city in the quake stricken region, late Sunday. He warned there may still be worse news to come.

He says the biggest concern is for the villages, because the buildings are made of clay and mud and are more vulnerable to quakes. He says almost all buildings in such villages are destroyed.

With the telephone system failing in many places, there has been little news from the area.  Many of the roads have also been cut, adding to the difficulties of rescue efforts.

The remote and mountainous southeastern region of Turkey where the quake struck is one of the poorest parts of the country. Weather conditions worsened late Sunday, with freezing temperatures and forecasts for snow.

Turkey has received offers of help from numerous countries including the United States, Greece and Israel.

But Erdogan told reporters he has declined most offers of help.

Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines.

In 1999, two earthquakes registering more than seven points on the Richter scale killed almost 20,000 people in densely populated parts of the north-west of the country.

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