Monday, 8 March 2010

Update on Turkish Earthquake

Our power lines have been down since just after I posted on my blog this morning. 

I'm now back on line, and have just checked for the latest news on this morning's earthquake.

The following is a report by Todays Zaman newspaper:

"A strong earthquake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6, hit eastern Turkey on Monday, killing at least 57 people and knocking down houses in at least three small villages, the Government said.

Mayor Bekir Yanılmaz, of the town of Kovancılar said the victims were from the villages of Okcular, Yukarı Kanatlı and Kayalı, where the quake toppled stone or mud-brick homes and the minarets of mosques.

The government's crisis center said around 71 people were also injured in the quake which occurred at 4:32 a.m. (0232 GMT, 9 p.m. EST) in Elazığ province, about 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of Ankara, the capital, and caught many people in their sleep.

It was centered near the village of Başyurt, and was followed by more than 20 aftershocks, the strongest measuring 4.1, according to İstanbul's Kandilli Observatory seismology center.

Emergency workers were trying to rescue four people from debris, Gov. Muammer Erol said.

CNN-Türk television said the dead included four young sisters trapped in the rubble.

"Everything has been knocked down, there is not a stone in place," said Yadin Apaydın, administrator for the village of Yukarı Kanatlı, where he said at least three villagers died.

Authorities blocked access to Okçular village, where most of the deaths occurred, to facilitate the entry and exit of ambulances and rescue teams on the village's narrow roads. Relatives rushed to the village for news of their loved ones.

The quake was felt in the neighboring provinces of Tunceli, Bingöl and Diyarbakır where residents fled to the streets in panic and spent the night outdoors.

Some of the injuries occurred during the panic, when people jumped from windows or balconies. TV footages showed people bringing in the injured to hospitals by cars and taxis.

Kandilli Observatory's director, Mustafa Erdik, urged residents not to enter damaged homes, warning that they could topple from the aftershocks, which could last for days.

Television footage showed rescue workers and soldiers at Okçular lifting debris as villagers looked on. Two women sat on mattresses wrapped in blankets. Turkey's Red Crescent organization began setting up tents in the region.

Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, much of which lies atop the North Anatolian fault. In 1999, two powerful earthquakes struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people."

13.50 Turkish time (11.50 GMT)


  1. Ayak, how dreadful!
    Ziya is keeping me updated from Turkish TV, and he says the problem is one of access, so I suppose that's why they've closed off the area.

    He also says it's an 'el nino' year when there are always seismic events and looking at what's happened he has a point.

    I feel so sorry for those families.

  2.'s tragic. I wish I could do something to help...but it's so far away.

    We were living in Turgutreis when the 1999 earthquake occurred and lots of people from Istanbul had holiday homes near us. It was heartbreaking to see them queuing at the public phone kiosks in the hope that they could get through to their loved ones.

    We ex-pats did set up a crisis centre for the many refugees who moved down to Turgutreis with nothing, and collected blankets, food, clothing etc. We also managed to get two hotels who had closed for the winter to open up and accommodate these poor people. I have many sad tales to tell of these people, but I find it difficult to talk about even now.

  3. Oh and Ziya is right about it being an el nino year isn't he?

  4. Oh! Thats awful. Here's a prayer for those affected in the quake. Hope you are fine? Take care. ((hugs))


  5. This is so sad - I suppose things like earthquake-proof buildings are made of very expensive materials. I don't know anything about structures though - I wonder how our concrete house would fare. I thought stone would be pretty solid (am I showing myself up here with lack of knowledge about sturdiness - yes, probably)

  6. Hi Chaitra...Thankyou and I'm fine thanks. xxx

    FF: I don't really know much about the structure of buildings, and regulations concerning them being earthquake-proof, but I do know from having lived in 15 different homes in 12 years, that Turkish houses are on the whole very badly built. They are just thrown up with no skill involved, are prone to damp, have no insulation in walls or roofs, and this is the major problem when an earthquake occurs. They just collapse like a pack of cards.

    From my experience of this village and others, a lot of the houses have probably been built by the families who live in them, with no regulations at all. Although our house is prone to damp..structurally it is pretty sound because FIL made sure it was. thing to thank him (begrudgingly) for.

  7. Only just got home and I haven't seen or heard any news yet. How terrible. In Italy we had the big one in Abruzzo last year and some people are still intemporary shelters. How far away from you did this one strike?

  8. Heiko: Many people involved in the Istanbul earthquake of 1999 were in temporary shelters years later. It's shocking. But as I mentioned earlier there was widespread corruption at the time, and money which we paid in taxes on our utility bills for the re-building programme, has never been poperly accounted for.

    The one today was a great distance from us..around 1000 km I think.

    We have tremors every day in Turkey. Mostly we don't feel them. I have experienced a few. I can only describe it as being like standing on a station when a high-speed train goes through. But even that can be quite scary.

  9. I have been watching the news and just hoping that you were nowhere near the quake. It is the most dreadful thing imaginable.
    We have had pretty good coverage on this dreadful incident.
    I hope that is going to be the end of it now and that everyone who could possibly be rescued will be freed.
    My heart goes out to all these people.
    Keep safe. Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  10. When I saw this on the news I prayed you and yours were out of harms way.
    Stay safe.

  11. I'm glad that you are OK, what a terrible thing and earthquake must be. I have only felt one before, and that is enough.

    I like your new header...What is that delectable goody?

  12. Maggie, @eloh and Mr H:

    Thank you very much for your kind thoughts...something like this makes us all put things into perspective doesn't it?

    Mr H: The header pic is turkish delight of course! As was the previous header...but there are so many delicious varieties, I thought it was time for a change.


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