By Mamonov Roman
A very powerful earthquake took place in Turkey on Sunday.
The quake’s epicenter was in the province of Van in the country’s west. The first shock had a magnitude of 7.2 points. Then, it was followed by an aftershock with a magnitude of 5.5 points.
The quake was also felt in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Iraq. However, fortunately, there were no victims there. Turkey itself was far less lucky – according to experts’ estimations, about 1,000 people there may have been killed.
The country’s western provinces suffered most. Tens of houses turned into ruins, and about a thousand were damaged.
Rescue works are already under way. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has flown to the province of Van.
The deaths of 80 people have already been officially confirmed. About 200 have been taken to hospitals. However, one cannot yet say for sure how many people are still buried alive under ruins. There is no connection with several regions of the province.
Voice of Russia’s correspondent Anatoly Koritskiy reports from Turkey:
“Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul has had a telephone talk with the governor of the Van province. It was decided to send several brigades of doctors, firemen and rescuers to the province. A commission for the emergency situation has been formed in the Turkish government. Telephone operators are now trying to establish connection with the regions which suffered from the quake. The airport of the Van province is currently working, and medicines and humanitarian aid (mostly, tents for those who lost their homes) are coming there. The army has sent several detachments to help the rescuers.”
Seismologists are recommending to local residents not to return home and to spend the next several hours outdoors, because there is a risk that new shocks may follow.
Professor Sherif Barish from the university in Kocaeli, Turkey, comments:
“This is an earthquake of a medium range. It didn’t come as a total surprise for us – eastern Anatolia is a very seismic region. The damage from the quake has not yet been fully calculated, but I won’t be surprised if it turns out that the number of ruined houses and the number of victims are very big. Experts say that the power of this earthquake equaled the power of explosions of 5 or 6 atomic bombs.”
The International Red Crescent has already sent its rescuers to the regions which suffered most.
According to the data of the Russian embassy in Turkey, no Russian citizens suffered from the quake.