Turkey hit by second devastating earthquake
Turkey was on Wednesday night hit by a second devastating earthquake in less than three weeks, killing at least three people and leaving dozens trapped in the rubble of toppled buildings, according to reports.
The 5.7-magnitude quake hit the city of Van, which was devastated last month by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that killed 600 people.
The state television channel TRT Haber showed images of several collapsed buildings and rescue workers searching through the rubble after the tremor struck at 9.23pm local time. It said at least 35 people were trapped.
Panicked residents could be seen running through the streets and ambulances rushed through the town with their sirens wailing.
Sky Turk television said one hotel was being used by journalists and aid workers. It was not clear how many people were inside, but at least one was brought out alive, NTV television reported.
NTV television said rescue teams were being sent to the region from the capital Ankara and other areas, a week after workers had begun clearing debris from the earlier quake
About 1,400 aftershocks have rocked the region since the first earthquake hit the province on Oct 23.
Many residents had been living in tents, despite the cold, too afraid to return to their homes. “Life has become hell. We are outside, the weather is cold. There are no tents,” said Emin Kayram, 53.
At least 2,000 buildings were destroyed and authorities declared another 3,700 buildings unfit for habitation. There was a huge rescue operation after the October quake, as teams searched around the clock for survivors among dozens of flattened buildings and aid groups scrambled to set up tents, field hospitals and kitchens to help the homeless.
“Our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000,” Mustafa Erdik, the general manager of the Kandilli Observatory, said at the time.
The airport in Van was also damaged, meaning planes were diverted to nearby cities and relief teams were forced to travel by road.
October’s earthquake had a relatively shallow depth of 12.2 miles, according to the US Geological Survey, which made the damage worse.
Ercis, a town near Van, was hardest hit with at least 55 destroyed buildings, 45 dead and 156 injured.
Many homes collapsed along the town’s main road, raising the possibility of a higher death toll. In smaller villages near the epicentre, the shaking demolished almost all the brick houses.
In the city centre of Van, at least 100 people were confirmed dead, and 970 buildings collapsed. About 200 inmates escaped after the walls of a prison succumbed to the shaking, although 50 were quickly recaptured.
In one rare moment of joy, a two-week-old baby was rescued alive from the rubble of a collapsed building on, 46 hours after the October earthquake struck.
Van province lies several hundred miles east of the East Anatolian fault, one of Turkey’s most seismically active regions.