Ankara: About 1,000
people may have died in the 7.3-magnitude quake which hit Turkey's southeastern province of Van Sunday, an official said.
The magnitude-7.3 quake's epicentre, with a depth of 7.20 km, was
initially determined to be at 38.6270 degrees north latitude and
43.5349 degrees east longitude, the US Geological Survey said.
"The toll from this earthquake could be 500 to 1,000," Xinhua
quoted Mustafa Erdik, the head of the Kandilli Observatory and
Earthquake Research Institute in Istanbul, as saying.
The Turkish earthquake observatory, however, put the quake's
magnitute at 7.2 on the Richter scale.
The Kandilli centre originally reported that the earthquake was
6.6 on the Richter scale, but later corrected it to 7.2 on the
The earthquake damaged several buildings in the Van province, but
the most serious damage was in the neighbouring town of Ercis.
Several strong aftershocks were also reported.
Turky's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit
the area shortly to assess the situation.
Over 500 search, rescue and health personnel have been sent to Van
from nearly 40 provinces, said Prime Ministry's Disaster and
Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) in a release.
"There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed, there
is so much destruction," Zulfikar Arapoglu, mayor of Ercis, told
NTV television. "We need urgent aid, we need medics."
Turky's deputy prime minister Besir Atalay earlier said that 25 to
30 buildings collapsed in the town of Ercis.
Residents spilled out into the streets in panic as rescue workers
struggled to save people believed to be trapped under collapsed
buildings, the television footage showed.
Turkish Red Crescent is sending tents, blankets and other aid
materials to the quake-hit province despite ongoing aftershocks,
according to Anatolia reports.
Some people were trapped under debris of buildings in central Van,