At least 14 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a powerful earthquake and mini-tsunami. hit Turkey and Greece.
The horrific images show mass devastation as rescuers desperately search for rubble for survivors after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the coasts and islands around the Aegean Sea.
The epicenter was reported 18 kilometers north of the Greek island of Samos, off the coast of Turkey, a region popular with British tourists.
Izmir, a Turkish city with a population of 4.4 million, has borne the brunt of the destruction.
At least 20 buildings collapsed and a mini-tsunami swept through coastal areas that swept a pile of debris – including cars – inland and left the fish stranded as they retreated.
People were left stranded for their lives as the massive wave swept through the sea’s defenses and transformed the roads into raging torrents of salt water.
Rescuers are now facing a race against time to pull more survivors buried under the rubble of collapsed structures.
At least 70 people were rescued from under the rubble.
The quake also affected eastern Greek islands such as Mykonos and Kos, and tsunami warnings were issued on several beaches.
The Turkish Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) said 12 people were killed, one due to drowning, while 419 people were injured.
Meanwhile, two teenagers, aged 15 and 17, were killed when a wall fell on the island of Samos.
Turkey’s health minister said 38 ambulances, two ambulance helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams were working in Izmir.
About two million foreign tourists visit Izmir every year, according to data from the Aegean Tourism Company and the Accommodation Union.
Images and videos posted on social media show large clouds of dust growing over the city after the earthquake.
Aerial films on Turkish NTV television showed entire blocks of cities turned into slaughterhouses.
Rescuers called for silence as they hunted down every sign of survivors, polishing the masses and other debris into a human chain.
TRT television showed rescuers being helped by residents and police using chainsaws as they tried to force their way through the rubble.
Ilke Cide, a doctoral student who was in the Guzelbahce region of Izmir during the earthquake, said he went inland after the waters rose after the earthquake.
“I’m very used to earthquakes … so I didn’t take it very seriously at first but this time it was really scary,” he said, adding that the earthquake had lasted at least 25-30 seconds.
Idil Gungor, who runs a hotel in Izmir’s Seferihisar district, told NTV that people were carrying debris after the water fell.
She said the fish were washed in the hotel garden, about 50 meters from the shore.
A U.S. geological survey has confirmed that the huge quake was made 190 miles away in Athens and about 200 miles away.
miles away in Istanbul.
Following the news of the earthquake, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias contacted his Turkish counterpart and offered to send some members of his disaster relief team to Izmir.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis today called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, giving his condolences.
“Whatever our difference, these are the times when our people need to be together,” Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that France “stands by the Turkish and Greek people.”
“If the governments of these countries want it that way, French aid can be sent immediately on site,” Darmanin said.
It comes after tensions between the two countries following the publication of a cartoon of the Turkish president in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Izmir’s Seferihisar mayor Ismail Yetiskin said the quake caused sea level rise.
“It looks like a small tsunami,” he told NTV.
Residents have fled their homes, while some rock falls have been reported and a mini-tsunami has gone off in Samos.
One of the fallen buildings on the island is the church of Panagia Theotokou in Karlovasi.
“The walls of some houses have been smashed and many buildings are damaged,” the island’s deputy mayor Michalis Mitsios told public broadcaster ERT.
“It was chaos,” added fellow deputy mayor Giorgos Dionysiou. “We’ve never experienced anything like it.”
The island’s airport was also closed as a precaution.
The Greek civil protection agency told Samos residents in a text message to “stay outside in the open air and away from buildings.”
President Erdogan tweeted that he was ready to help “with all available means for our state.”
Turkish Environment and Town Planning Minister Murat Kurum has confirmed that people remain trapped under the wreckage in Izmir.
Witness Teoman Cüneyt Acar told Haberturk: “I was in a shop in Gaziemir during the earthquake.
“I saw that all my belongings had started to fall. My mother was taken home. I saw my mom at the front door and they were all out.
“I came into the house during the filming and I saw cracks in the columns.
“According to him, some old buildings are in ruins.” The shock lasted 40-45 seconds. ”
Witnesses said people were flooded into the streets of the famous tourist city after the earthquake.
Turkish officials and broadcasters have asked people to stay off the roads so that emergency vehicles can move quickly in the disaster area.
The quake occurred around 11:50 GMT and was felt along the Aegean coast of Turkey and the northwestern region of Marmara.
The Turkish Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management said the earthquake was centered in the Aegean Sea at a depth of 10.3 miles.
Seismologist Efthymios Lekkas told Greek state television ERT that it was still too early to tell if it was the main earthquake.
“It was a very big earthquake, it’s hard to have a bigger one,” Lekkas said.
Lekkas said the earthquake is an evolving event, adding that damage had been reported in parts of Samos.
A tsunami warning was issued, with residents of the Samos area told to stay away from the coast.
They used to say: “Stay away from the coast.” Danger from high waves due to the earthquake. “
The repercussions continue to hit the area.
Water rose above the pier in the main port of Samos and flooded the road.
The regional governor of the Samos region, Yiannis Stamoulis, said no injuries had been reported on the island.
The head of the Samos hospital workers’ union told The Greek City Times: “A few minutes ago we experienced a very large earthquake similar to the one that Samos has been working on for several years.
“People are panicking. They went out into the square, into the street. “
He added: “It was an earthquake that lasted several minutes. Very strong. “
Greece and Turkey are both located in one of the most active earthquake zones in the world.
In 1999, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck northwestern Turkey, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul.
Another earthquake in 2011 in the southeastern province of Van brought more than 600 dead.
In Greece, u last deadly earthquake killed two people on the island of Kos, near Samos, in July 2017.