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Earthquake death toll in Turkey and Greece rises to 28

A resident, who spent the night outdoors for fear of aftershocks, rests inside a cafeteria while the image of rescuers continuing their search for survivors among the rubble of a building affected by the earthquake, are reflected in an advantage , in Izmir, Turkey, on Oct. 31, 2020. (AP Photo / Darko Bandic)

IZMIR, Turkey.

Rescue teams were removing concrete blocks and debris from eight collapsed buildings on Saturday to try to locate survivors of the powerful earthquake that struck the Turkish coast in the Aegean Sea and north of the Greek island of Samos, killing at least 28 people. . More than 800 more were injured.

The earthquake on Friday afternoon toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, and triggered a small tsunami in the Seferihisar district and on Samos. Hundreds of aftershocks followed the earthquake.

Earlier on Saturday, onlookers cheered as rescuers pulled teenager Inci Okan from the wreckage of an eight-story apartment block that collapsed in Izmir’s Bayrakli district. His dog, Fistik, was also rescued, the Sozcu newspaper reported. Friends and family waited outside the building to hear from their trapped loved ones, including employees of a dental clinic that occupied the ground floor.

In another collapsed building, rescuers contacted a 38-year-old woman and her four children – a 3-year-old, a 7-year-old and two 10-year-old twins – and were working to open a corridor to get them out, according to the news agency. Anadolu state.

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were rescued earlier in the day from another fallen two-story building.

In total, the number of rescued since the earthquake is around 100 people, Murat Kurum, minister of the environment and urban planning, told reporters. Around 5,000 rescuers work in the worst-hit area, Kurum added.

At least 26 people lost their lives in Izmir, Fahrettin Koca, Turkish Health Minister, said on Twitter. Among the dead was an older woman who drowned.

According to the Turkish disaster management agency AFAD, 831 people were injured in Izmir and other provinces. Of them, 25 were in intensive care, explained the Ministry of Health.

In Samos, two teenagers died after a wall collapsed and at least 19 other people were injured. Two of these, including a 14-year-old boy, were airlifted to Athens and seven others are hospitalized on the island, health authorities said.

The small tsunami that hit the Turkish coast also affected Samos, where several streets in the port city of Vathi were flooded. The authorities warned the population to stay away from the coast and buildings that may be damaged.

The earthquake, which according to the Kandilli Institute in Istanbul reached a magnitude of 6.9, had its epicenter in the Aegean, northeast of Samos. According to AFAD, it reached a magnitude of 6.6 and recorded at a depth of 16 kilometers (10 miles).

The tremor was felt in the islands of eastern Greece, in its capital, Athens, and even in Bulgaria. In Turkey it shook the Aegean and Marmara regions, where Istanbul is. The governor of the country’s largest city said there had been no damage.

Turkey is riddled with faults and prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful earthquakes killed about 18,000 people in the northwest of the country. This type of phenomenon is also common in Greece.

Authorities warned Izmir residents not to return to the damaged buildings, claiming that they could be toppled by the powerful aftershocks. Many spent the night on the streets for fear of returning to their homes, even those that were not harmed, the DHA news agency reported.

In a show of solidarity unusual in recent months marked by their tense bilateral relations, officials from the Turkish and Greek governments exchanged messages of solidarity and the presidents held a telephone conversation.

“I thank President Erdogan for his positive response to my call,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday before traveling to Samos.

The relationship between Turkey and Greece has been especially tense in recent times, with clashes between warships in the eastern Mediterranean as part of their dispute over maritime borders and energy exploitation rights. The tension caused fear of a possible open conflict between the two neighboring nations and NATO allies.

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