Four people have been killed and 120 injured after a powerful earthquake hit the west coast of Turkey and parts of Greece on Friday as both nations promised to help the other in their recovery efforts.
The quake could be felt as far away as Istanbul and the Greek islands, where officials said eight people suffered minor injuries on the island of Samos. High tidal waves were seen in both countries and led to floods on parts of the Izmir coast.
Greek public television said the quake also caused a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and destroyed buildings.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 earthquake was recorded 14 km (8.6 miles) from the Greek city of Karlovasi on Samos.
The Turkish government’s disaster agency reported a lower magnitude of 6.6 for the quake, while Greece’s seismological agency said it measured 6.7.
Pictures from Izmir showed collapsed buildings and confused people trying to get through rubble piled high on the streets.
“So far, we have received information about six collapsed buildings” in Izmir province, which includes the city, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter.
“Some of our fellow citizens are stuck in the rubble,” said Environment Minister Murat Kurum, adding that he knew of five collapsed buildings.
City Mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk he had information about the collapse of 20 buildings.
We pray that there is no further loss of life in Turkey or Greece and we send our best wishes to all those affected on both sides of the earthquake. This tragedy reminds us once again how close we are despite our differences in politics. We are ready to help if Greece needs it.
– Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) October 30, 2020
Pictures on social media showed water rushing through the streets of Izmir from an apparent sea wave. Thick white smoke joints rose from various parts of the city, where buildings had collapsed.
Aerial footage on Turkey’s NTV television showed that entire city blocks were turning into rubble.
TRT television showed rescuers being helped by residents and police using chainsaws as they tried to force their way through the rubble of a seven-story building that had collapsed.
Rescuers called for silence for signs of any survivors, clearing rocks and other debris in a human chain. CNN Turk showed that a woman was pulled out alive.
Turkey and Greece stated that they would work together if they needed to.
“The Greek Foreign Minister (Nikos) Dendias called our Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to wish him the best. Both ministers stressed that they were ready to help each other in case of emergency,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted that he was ready to help “with all the funds available to our state”.
‘It was chaos’
On Samos, near the epicenter of the quake, people rushed to the streets in panic.
“The walls of some houses have crumbled and several buildings have been damaged,” the island’s deputy Michalis Mitsios was quoted as saying by public television station ERT.
“It was chaos,” added Deputy Mayor Giorgos Dionysiou. “We have never experienced anything like it.”
The Greek Civil Protection Agency told Samos residents in a text message to “stay out in the open and away from buildings”.
The island’s airport was also closed as a precaution. Greece and Turkey are both located in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.
In 1999, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake shook the northwestern part of Turkey, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul. Another 2011 earthquake in the southeastern province of Van resulted in more than 600 deaths.
In Greece, the last deadly earthquake killed two people on the island of Kos near Samos in July 2017.
( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)