Home / Armenia / VIDEO: Earthquake in Van, Turkey, Felt in Armenia at 5.0 Magnitude

VIDEO: Earthquake in Van, Turkey, Felt in Armenia at 5.0 Magnitude

Rescue teams are desperately searching for people trapped under rubble after a strong earthquake hit Turkey’s eastern Van region on Sunday, BBC reports.

More than 200 people died and 1,000 were injured in the 7.2 magnitude quake, many of them in the town of Ercis, where dozens of buildings fell.

Tens of thousands have been sleeping outside in freezing conditions.

The death toll is expected to rise in the coming hours. PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been visiting the area.

Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines.

The earthquake struck at 13:41 (10:41 GMT) at a depth of 20km (12.4 miles), with its epicentre 16km north-east of Van in eastern Turkey, the US Geological Survey said.

It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, also centered north of Van, including two of magnitude 5.6 soon after the quake and one of 6.0 late on Sunday.

The earthquake at a magnitude of 3.0 to 5.0 was felt in neighboring Armenia. Witnesses told Epress.am that residents of high-rise buildings in Yerevan’s northeastern districts left their homes, panic-stricken. The shocks were most noticeably felt in the Armenian cities of Gyumri, Masis, Armavir and Etchmiadzine where furniture in many homes actually moved, and in some cases crystal and dinnerware fell and broke.

As reported by the Epress.am correspondent in Turkey, there are reports of more than 1,000 casualties and much destruction.

“We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost — it could be 500 or 1,000,” said the head of Turkey’s seismology institute, Mustafa Erdik of the Kandilli Observatory, the BBC reported.

Photo: Reuters