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Powerful quake kills 18 people in eastern Turkey

25 January 2020, 8:59:16

People stand outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Elazig, Turkey, January 24, 2020. Ihlas News Agency (IHA) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY.

A powerful earthquake has killed at least 18 people and injured hundreds in eastern Turkey, as rescue teams searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors early on Saturday.

At least 30 people were missing following the magnitude 6.8 quake, which had its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in the eastern province of Elazig.

“It was very scary, furniture fell on top of us. We rushed outside,” 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the provincial capital of Elazig, told AFP.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all steps were being taken to aid people affected by the quake, which caused widespread fear.

“We stand by our people,” Erdogan said on Twitter.

People who fled their homes in panic were lighting fires in the streets to stay warm in freezing temperatures.

The Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said the quake hit Sivrice at around 8.55 pm (1755 GMT). Turkey lies on major faultlines and is prone to frequent earthquakes.

Turkish television showed images of people rushing outside in panic, as well as a fire on the roof of a building.

Interior, environment and health ministers said at least 18 people were killed, 13 of them in Elazig province and five others in the neighbouring province of Malatya, which lies to the southwest.

Some 553 people were injured, they said.

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