ISTANBUL - Rescue teams in Turkey working around the clock recovered another body Saturday from the rubble of a collapsed building in Bayrakli district in Izmir struck by a strong earthquake.
The quake hit Turkey’s third-largest city and a nearby Greek island on Friday morning, killing at least 27 people and injuring more than 800.
Haluk Ozener, director of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, said that Izmir was the hardest-hit and most-damaged area.
Izmir’s Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger said at least 70 people were rescued from the wreckage of four destroyed buildings and from more than 10 other collapsed structures.
As the quake hit, residents were seen running into the streets in panic in Izmir, which has a population of 4 million.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 with an epicenter 13 kilometers north-northeast of Samos and 32 kilometers off the coast of Turkey.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.0. It is common for preliminary magnitudes to differ in the early hours and days after a quake.
The quake triggered a surge of water into Izmir’s Seferihisar district.
On the nearby Greek island of Samos, a teenage boy and girl were found dead in an area where a wall had collapsed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all means necessary would be used to assist rescue efforts.
Many of Izmir’s inhabitants, fearing for their safety, were spending the night outside, in parks and open land or in their cars. Soup kitchens have been set up to feed those in need.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis offered his condolences to Erdogan. The quake comes amid high tensions between the neighbors over disputes over territorial waters, but Mitsotakis tweeted, “Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together.”
Erdogan thanked Mitsotakis and offered assistance, “We are standing with Greece if there is anything we can do for them."
Turkey is no stranger to powerful earthquakes, developing a large pool of expertise in rescue operations.
The provincial city of Izmit, close to Istanbul, was devastated by an earthquake in 1999, killing at least 17,000 people. Many of those killed died in collapsed buildings.
Since the 1999 quake, stringent building regulations have been introduced, along with a program of strengthening old structures.