NUSADAILY.COM-JAKARTA – As many as 19 people have died in Turkey and Greece after a strong earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday. Resulted in a number of buildings collapsed and brought tidal waves that hit the coast and islands.
People were running through the streets in panic in the Turkish city of Izmir, witnesses said, after the quake struck with a magnitude of 7.0. The surrounding area is inundated with rising sea water which sweeps debris on land away from the coast and leaves stranded fish as the tide recedes.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) presidency said 17 people died, one from drowning, while 709 were injured. On the island of Samos, Greece, two teenagers, a boy and a girl. Found dead in an area where a wall collapsed.
Search and rescue operations continued on 17 collapsed and damaged buildings in Izmir, AFAD said. Authorities installed tents with a capacity of 2,000 people in areas with the worst damage, said Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum.
Ilke Cide, doctoral student who was in the Izmi Guzelbahce region during the earthquake. Said he went away from the shore after the water rose following the earthquake.
“I am very used to earthquakes so I didn’t take it too seriously at first but this time it was really scary,” he said, adding that the quake lasted for at least 25-30 seconds.
Crossed by major fault lines, Turkey is among the most earthquake-hit countries in the world. More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake rocked Izmir, the southeastern city of Istanbul. In 2011, an earthquake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500 people.
Ismail Yetiskin, the mayor of Seferihisar, Izmir, said sea levels rose due to the earthquake. “Looks like a small tsunami,” he told broadcaster NTV.
Footage on social media shows debris including refrigerators, chairs, tables floating on the flooded streets. TRT Haber shows a number of vehicles in the Seferihisar area, Izmir, being dragged by water and piled up.
Idil Gungor, who runs a hotel in Seferihisar, told broadcaster NTV that people cleared up debris after the floods receded. He said the fish were stranded in the hotel garden, about 50 meters from the beach.
The inhabitants of the Greek island of Samos, who number around 45,000 were ordered to stay away from the coast, Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece’s anti-seismic planning organization, told Greek TV Skai.
“This is a very big earthquake, it’s hard to experience a bigger earthquake,” said Lekkas.
A high tide alert was declared in Samos, where eight people were also injured, according to Greek officials.
Turkish and Greek leaders battling exploration rights in eastern Mediterranean waters spoke by telephone and expressed hope that the two countries would see a speedy recovery from the earthquake, the Turkish presidency said.
The leaders of the two countries said they were willing to help each other if needed and stressed the importance of solidarity.
“Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to unite,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.
“That two neighbors show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter in response to Mistotakis.
Cooperation between the two countries after the devastating earthquake in 1999 led to a period of warmer bond between them. (int1)