Earthquakes strike Turkey's central, eastern provinces, kill nine
(Updates with new death toll, injuries)
Turkey’s central province of Konya and eastern provinces were hit by separate earthquakes over the past 24 hours.
Konya was rattled late Saturday by a magnitude 4.5 earthquake, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said. The province's governor said no casualties had been reported after the tremor but there were material losses in several districts.
An earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck the Turkey-Iran border region early on Sunday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said, killing nine people and leaving some 50 people injured in the eastern province of Van. The tremor also damaged scores of buildings in the region, state-run Anadolu news agency said.
"Some 50 citizens were injured, two of them are in critical condition but others do not have a risk of death," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
The moderately strong earthquake was also felt in neighbouring provinces including Kars, Iğdır and Ağrı, Turkish news website T24 said.
"Eight people lost their lives so far. Our rescue teams have been dispatched to the area. It is stated that we have citizens trapped under the debris still," Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said.
Turkey has been facing several earthquakes for the last couple of months.
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 24 struck Turkey’s eastern Elazığ province and claimed lives of 41 and injured over 1600. Some 2,945 damaged buildings had been identified, with 1,287 of these badly damaged and 87 demolished, according to AFAD.
Meanwhile, a magnitude 4.6 earthquake shook Turkey’s western province of Manisa on Feb. 2.
Turkey’s response to natural disasters has dominated the agenda since a 6.8-magnitude tremor jolted Elazığ. Geologists, construction engineers and architects maintain that it is not the earthquakes that are killing people, but poorly constructed buildings in a country that straddles several active faultlines.
Turkey is located on active seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. A magnitude-7.4 quake killed more than 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey in 1999. And, hundreds of damaged buildings still require demolition and people continue to live in tens of severely damaged buildings in Turkey’s northwestern Izmit province, which was rocked by the 1999's tremor, according to Chamber of Civil Engineers.