Powerful earthquake hits Turkey's Izmir

Powerful earthquake hits Turkey's Izmir

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake jolted Turkey's Aegean region on Friday, according to the nation’s disaster agency.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said the quake occurred at 2.51 p.m. local time (11:51GMT) at a depth of 16.54 kilometers.

Secretary-general of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Bugra Gokce told news channel NTV that some houses in the city had been destroyed in the tremor.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the quake was also felt in Istanbul, but no "negativities" were reported, Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that six buildings in Izmir, a city in Turkey's Aegean region, were reportedly destroyed by the earthquake. No causalities were reported, the minister added.

Other western Turkish provinces, including Usak, Denizli, Manisa, Balikesir, Aydin and Mugla saw small damages to some buildings, he said.

Turkish search-and-rescue teams continue their work on the field, the minister added.

Izmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer, however, reported the number of collapsed buildings as “close to 20.”

Shortly after the earthquake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said all government institutes were mobilized to help the city. "We stand with all our citizens affected by the earthquake with all means possible. All our respective institutes and ministers have been mobilized," he said.

According to the National Observatory of Athens Geodynamic Institute initially put the magnitude of the quake at 6.6 but later revised it to 6.7. The quake struck northwest of the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, said the observatory.

Television footage and videos circulating on social media showed people desperately removing the debris of some collapsed buildings to reach the people trapped under the rubble.

People in Izmir and neighboring provinces were warned by the AFAD to stay away from their homes if there was visible damage to the buildings.

Boğaziçi University's Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute also urged people to stay away from damaged buildings, warning that a secondary earthquake could cause more to collapse.

"There could be secondary earthquakes of up to 5.8 magnitudes and a strong tremor could knock down already damaged buildings," Kandilli Obersvatory Manager Doğan Kalafat said.

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