Turkey and Greece were battered by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake today which killed at least four people, flattened buildings and caused a mini-tsunami which flooded streets in horrifying scenes on the Turkish coast.
Debris was racing down Turkish streets after an apparent sea surge near Izmir where at least six buildings were destroyed and footage showed people climbing over the wreckage of collapsed multi-storey blocks.
Turkey’s disaster agency said at least four people were dead and 120 injured in the earthquake, while at least eight were wounded in Greece where the mini-tsunami reached the Greek island of Samos.
Islanders were told to avoid the coast, while some fled their homes, and roads and buildings were damaged by the quake which was also felt in Athens and nearby Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria.
A destroyed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the Aegean today which killed at least four people and injured 120 others in Turkey, while injuring at least four people in Greece
Debris was racing down Turkish streets after an apparent sea surge near Izmir amid a ‘mini-tsunami’ in Turkey and Greece which followed the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the Aegean Sea today
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had an epicentre eight miles from of the Greek island of Samos
Locals and officials search for survivors at a collapsed building after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday and was felt in both Greece and Turkey
Smoke over the city of Izmir which appeared to have taken the heaviest damage of the earthquake on the Turkish side
People look at the rubble of a building in Izmir after the earthquake struck on Friday
The rescue operation begins as people climb over the wreckage of a collapsed building following the powerful earthquake
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Friday’s earthquake was centred in the Aegean at a depth of 10.3 miles.
Turkey’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu said six buildings had collapsed in two parts of Izmir, while mayor Tunc Soyer said nearly 20 buildings had collapsed in the province.
One person drowned in high waters after the earthquake while three others were thought to have been buried under the wreckage of collapsed buildings.
Pictures from the Turkish disaster zone showed smoke blowing over the city of Izmir, debris being washed away by high waters, and dazed people trying to make their way through rubble piled high on the streets.
There were 38 ambulances, two ambulance helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams on the ground in Izmir, where TV footage showed police using chainsaws as they tried to force their way through the rubble.
Turkish media said the earthquake was felt across the regions of Aegean and Marmara, where Istanbul is located. However, Istanbul’s governor said there were no reports of damage.
Soylu said there were no reports of casualties from six other provinces where the earthquake was felt but added there were small cracks in some buildings.
Ilke Cide, a doctoral student who was in Izmir’s Guzelbahce region during the earthquake, said he went inland after waters rose after the earthquake. ‘I am very used to earthquakes… so I didn’t take it very seriously at first but this time it was really scary,’ he said, adding the earthquake had lasted for at least 25 to30 seconds.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that ‘with all the means of our state, we stand by our citizens affected by the earthquake’. ‘We have taken action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers,’ he said.
The rubble of a building is heaped on the ground after it collapsed during the Aegean earthquake on Friday
A massive search and rescue operation underway in Izmir after the 7.0-magnitude quake barrelled into Turkey and Greece
Boats were carried out from a harbour in Turkey (left) where debris was also seen floating along flooded streets (right)
Damaged buildings in Turkey where the earthquake destroyed at least six buildings
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had an epicentre eight miles from Samos, where the island’s 45,000 people were urged to stay away from coastal areas.
Greece’s top seismologist Eftyhmis Lekkas told Greek media: ‘It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one.’
A tsunami warning was issued, with residents of the Samos area told to stay away from the coast while water rose above the dock in the main harbour of Samos and flooded the street.
‘The walls of some houses have crumbled and several buildings are damaged,’ the island’s deputy mayor Michalis Mitsios told broadcaster ERT.
People from their homes rushed into the streets on Samos and other islands following the tremor, which Greek officials put at magnitude 6.6 and the US Geological Survey at 7.0.
‘We have never experienced anything like it,’ said one local official. ‘People are panicking.’ Police said there was damage to some old buildings on the island.
Both countries reported aftershocks.
Greece and Turkey are both situated in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s northwest, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul.
Another quake in 2011 in the southeastern province of Van resulted in more than 600 deaths. In Greece, the last deadly quake killed two people on the island of Kos, near Samos, in July 2017.
A person receives treatment after feeling faint following the earthquake on Turkey’s Aegean Sea cost today
People stand outside their homes in Izmir today following the earthquake that left people trapped under rubble
The sun shines over a heap of rubble as people begin the clean-up operation in Izmir on Friday afternoon