Turkey is vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological faultlines.
An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hit Turkey on 23 October. Some 239 people died and 1,300 are injured.
Turkey is vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological faultlines. Two earthquakes in 1999 with a magnitude of more than 7 killed almost 20,000 people.
The quake, which struck around 3 am local time, ripped through cities and villages as people slept. The cities of Ercis and Van were the worst hit since the epicentre was in Tabanli village, near Van. In Ercis, up to 80 buildings collapsed, and hospitals reported about 1,000 casualties. In Van, 10 buildings tumbled to the ground.
Residents spent the night huddled around campfires in the open, fearing aftershocks. Many were heard crying for help from under the rubble, and the toll is expected to go up. Some people began digging into the rubble with their bare hands in search of people who may be trapped below.
Turkish scientists estimate the death toll could rise to 1,000 because of poor housing standards as well. They say the quake had a depth of 20 km, which is considered quite shallow, meaning it may cause more damage.
Some prison inmates in Van reportedly escaped after a wall collapsed. A prison official said many later returned after checking that their families were alright. The quake also shook buildings in neighbouring Armenia, and people in Yerevan spilled onto the streets fearing that buildings would collapse.
Despite the widespread destruction, most of Istanbul’s stunning mosques and minarets have not just survived, but appear to be in fairly good condition.