One person was killed and 18 others injured after a magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook Turkey’s eastern Bingöl province at a shallow depth of 5 kilometers, reports said Sunday.
The earthquake was initially reported as magnitude 5.9, but Kandilli Observatory revised the figure to magnitude 5.8, while Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) reported it as 5.7.
A village guard was killed and two others were injured after two observation towers collapsed, according to Bingöl Governor’s Office. Seven people were rescued from the wreckage.
Meanwhile, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum arrived in the earthquake-hit province to supervise the relief efforts.
Oktay said 18 people were injured in the temblor but said no one is in critical health condition.
More than 1,300 tents were delivered to the region, and officials are checking every village and town, he said.
“Forty-six aftershocks have happened so far, with two of them more powerful than magnitude 4. Ninety teams from the Environment and Urbanization Ministry started to assess the damage and they will continue until all the region is inspected,” he said.
The earthquake also partially damaged 10 houses in the Elmalı and Dinarbey villages of Yedisu district.
The Interior Ministry said 26 vehicles and 109 health and rescue personnel were sent to the region.
Two military aircraft are on alert if any further help is needed, the statement said.
The epicenter of the earthquake was Karlıova district, according to Kandilli, and the temblor lasted around eight to 10 seconds, striking at 5:24 p.m. local time.
Tremors were also felt in neighboring provinces, including Erzurum, Trabzon, Erzincan, Kars, Batman, Diyarbakır, Siirt, Mardin, Elazığ, and Malatya.
The earthquake in Bingöl was triggered by the deadly East Anatolian fault line, stretching some 650 kilometers from eastern Turkey’s highlands to the Mediterranean, from where it turns southward and meets the northern end of the Great Rift system separating African and Arabian plates. The strike-slip fault was formed millions of years ago as the Anatolian plate was being pushed northwestward by the Arabian plate.
Experts noted that the line has mainly been silent after producing a series of devastating earthquakes recorded in the 16th and 19th centuries. However, major earthquakes with a significant intensity often occur in the region. In 2010, eastern Elazığ province was hit by a magnitude 6 earthquake, killing 51 people in the villages of the Karakoçan district. Some 350 kilometers to the east in 2011, an earthquake struck the eastern city of Van and the town of Erciş, some 100 kilometers to the north, killing at least 523 people.
More recently, at least 41 people were killed and 1,607 others were injured when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Elazığ in January.
Turkey is among the world’s most seismically active countries as it is situated on several active fault lines, and dozens of minor earthquakes and aftershocks occur daily.
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