Powerful quake hits eastern Turkey, four dead

Rescuers are seen outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Elazig, Turkey. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 25 January 2020

Powerful quake hits eastern Turkey, four dead

  • Rescue teams were being sent to the scene of the quake, which had its epicenter in the small lakeside town of Sivrice
  • The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders

ISTANBUL: A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 hit eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 21 people, causing buildings to collapse and sending panicked residents rushing into the street.
Rescue teams were being sent to the scene of the quake, which had its epicenter in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in the eastern province of Elazig.
“It was very scary, furniture fell on top of us. We rushed outside,” 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the provincial capital of Elazig, told AFP.
“We will spend the coming days in a farmhouse outside the city,” she said.
The Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency said the quake hit Sivrice at around 8.55 p.m. (1755 GMT).
The US Geological Survey assessed its magnitude at 6.7, and said it had a depth of 10 kilometers (about six miles).
Turkish television showed images of people stuck in apartments rushing outside in panic, as well as a fire on the roof of one building.
“Sivrice was shaken very seriously, we have directed our rescue teams to the region,” Soylu, who is due to go to the affected area, told reporters.
Sivrice — a town with a population of about 4,000 population — is situated south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake — one of the most popular tourist spots in the region.
The lake is home to a “Sunken City,” with archaeologists finding archaeological traces dating back 4,000 years in its waters.
The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders, the Turkish broadcaster NTV reported, adding that neighboring cities had mobilized rescue teams for the quake area.
“We have sent four teams to the quake region,” Recep Salci of Turkey’s Search and Rescue Association (AKUT) told AFP.
“We have news of collapsed buildings, and are preparing more teams in case of need.”
Zekeriya Gunes, 68, a resident of Elazig city, said a building 200 meters down on his street had collapsed but he did not know whether it was inhabited.
“Everybody is in the street, it was very powerful, very scary,” he said.
Ferda, 39, said she felt worried and desperate.
“It lasted quite long, maybe 30 seconds,” she told AFP. “I panicked and was undecided whether to go out in this cold or remain inside.”
Turkey lies on major faultlines and is prone to earthquakes.
In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Izmit in western Turkey, leaving more than 17,000 people dead including about 1,000 in the country’s largest city Istanbul.
In September, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul, causing residents to flee buildings in the economic capital.
Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate the city of 15 million people, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.


Iranian Parliament calls for block on nuclear inspections

Updated 30 November 2020

Iranian Parliament calls for block on nuclear inspections

  • MPs said the “best response” to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination would be to “revive Iran’s glorious nuclear industry”
  • Tehran allowed additional inspections as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

LONDON: Iran’s Parliament has called for international inspectors to be barred from accessing the country’s nuclear facilities, in response to the killing of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

In a statement issued on Sunday, MPs said the “best response” to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination would be to “revive Iran’s glorious nuclear industry” by halting the voluntary implementation of protocols that allow more intrusive inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy organization, told Iranian media on Saturday that the issue of inspectors’ access “must be decided on at high levels” of the country’s leadership.

The Supreme National Security Council, a body directly answerable to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, usually handles decisions related to the country’s nuclear program.

Tehran allowed additional inspections as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), widely referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, which eased crippling economic sanctions on the country in exchange for heavy restrictions on the development of its nuclear industry.

The JCPOA has faced heavy scrutiny from the Trump administration, which has taken several steps to roll back the various concessions made to Iran as part of the deal.