ANKARA, Turkey – An earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Wednesday night, killing at least three people and leaving dozens trapped in the rubble of toppled buildings damaged in the previous temblor, which had killed 600 people.
About 20 buildings collapsed in the provincial capital of Van following a 5.7-magnitude quake, according to media reports.
In a grim replay of scenes from last month’s quake in the same region, men climbed onto piles of debris and frantically clawed at twisted steel and crumbled concrete in an attempt to find survivors.
Voices could be heard calling for help from under the debris, and at least 10 people were pulled alive from the rubble in early rescue efforts, according to Turkish media.
Rescue workers used the glare of high-powered lights to work through the night.
State-run TRT television said at least three bodies were recovered and more than 50 people were believed to be trapped in the rubble of a hotel.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the quake toppled a hotel, a school and a number of mudbrick homes. He said rescue teams are being sent to the region from the capital, Ankara, and other areas.
Hurriyet newspaper and other media said the quake brought down two hotels and 16 other buildings, most of them structures that had been damaged in the earlier, 7.2-magnitude quake in the province of Van. Workers have been clearing debris from that disaster for more than a week.
Reports said the collapsed hotels were being used by journalists and aid workers involved in recovery efforts following the earlier quake.
Ozgur Gunes, a journalist with Cihan news agency, was staying at the hotel but had just left the building when the earthquake struck Wednesday night. He said there were journalists working in the lobby at the time.
“There were some small cracks, but we were told that there was no structural damage,” he told Sky Turk television.
The Turkish Red Crescent immediately dispatched 15,000 tents and some 300 rescue workers, TRT said. There was no damage in the town of Edremit, the quake’s epicenter.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake measured 5.7. Turkey’s Kandilli seismology center said it struck at 9:23 p.m. (1923 GMT, 2:23 p.m. EST).
About 1,400 aftershocks have rocked the region since the massive earthquake on Oct. 23, 통영출장업소 which killed 600 and left thousands homeless. Many residents had been living in tents, despite the cold, too afraid to return to their homes. At least 2,000 buildings were destroyed in the stronger temblor and authorities declared another 3,700 buildings unfit for living.
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