Turkey: Eastern city of Van hit by 7.2 magnitude quake

Courtesy BBC News.

Sunday, October 23, 2011 – A 7.2-magnitude earthquake has hit eastern Turkey, causing deaths and injuries as buildings collapsed. The quake hit just north-east of the city of Van, where Anatolia news agency said at least 50 people were injured. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said there had been damage and deaths in Van but gave no firm figure. Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines. Turkey’s Anatolia news agency reported that rescue workers were searching the wreckage of a seven-storey building in the city for people thought to be trapped in the rubble. It said 50 people had been taken to hospital in Van with injuries.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said 10 buildings had collapsed in Van and 25-30 had collapsed in the nearby town of Ercis, Reuters news agency reported. In Van, local official Veysel Keser said: “Many multi-floor buildings, hotels and a dormitory were collapsed.” “We can hear voices from the collapsed buildings,” AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

The USGS has revised the depth of the quake from 7.2 km (4.5 miles) to 20 km (12.4 miles), which is still relatively shallow and has the potential to cause damage. Within one hour, two more aftershocks of magnitue 5.6 struck the same region.

CMAT continues to monitor the progress through its contacts in the United Nations and other partners, and is assessing the need to deploy an assessment team to the middle eastern nation.