At least 12 dead after powerful earthquake rocks Turkey's western coast

The 6.6 magnitude earthquake injured more than 400 people, Turkey's disaster agency said.

al-monitor This picture shows a destroyed car and collapsed buildings after an earthquake struck the island of Samos on Oct. 30, 2020. Photo by STR/Eurokinissi/AFP via Getty Images.

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greece, aegean sea, earthquake

Oct 30, 2020

At least 12 people are dead and more than 400 injured after an earthquake in the Aegean Sea shook Turkey’s western coast on Friday afternoon, the Turkish disaster management agency said. 

The tremor, which struck at 2:51 p.m. local time, registered a magnitude of 6.6 and a depth of 16.54 kilometers (around 10 miles), according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority. The United States Geological Survey measured the magnitude at 7.0. 

The region experienced as many as 107 aftershocks, 21 of which were over 4.0 in magnitude, the Turkish agency reported. To assist in the recovery efforts, three military aircraft carrying search-and-rescue teams were dispatched to the western coast. 

Turkey’s third-largest city of Izmir was hit the hardest, with Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer confirming at least 20 buildings collapsed in the quake. On social media, Soyer urged people to stay off the roads and away from damaged buildings. 

Emergency crews on Friday evening installed hundreds of tents for Izmir residents to use as temporary shelters. The local government is also distributing food throughout the city and has set up portable toilets.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted that the western provinces of Usak, Denizli, Manisa, Balikesir, Aydin and Mugla also experienced minor damage. Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said residents of Turkey’s biggest city could also feel the tremor but no damage or casualties had been reported, according to Hurriyet Daily News.  

Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted, "Get well soon Izmir."

"With all the means of our state, we stand by our citizens affected by the earthquake. We took action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers," he said.

The earthquake also jolted Greece’s eastern islands and could be felt nearly 300 kilometers (186 miles) away in the capital, Athens. The National Observatory of Athens’ Geodynamic Institute put the quake’s magnitude at 6.6.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Erdogan to offer his condolences on Friday. In recent months, the two NATO allies’ relationship has soured over access to disputed waters in the oil-rich Eastern Mediterreanean.

"Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together," Mitsotakis said in a tweet. 

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