Seven Dead as Buildings Collapse, Tsunami Hits Turkish Coast After Aegean Earthquake

Destroyed building in the Turkish city of Izmir (Smyrna) after Friday’s earthquake. Credit: ajplus/Twitter

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale struck just under the  Aegean Sea on Friday afternoon, causing a great deal of damage in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir (Smyrna) and the Greek island of Samos.

Fahrettin Koca, Turkey’s Health Minister, announced in a tweet that six people had died and over 120 were injured in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city with around 4.5 million residents.

According to Turkish media, damage in the coastal city is extensive, with entire apartment buildings in ruins after the earthquake, and many are feared dead.

Although Turkish authorities recorded the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale, the United States Geological Society (USGS) measured it at a powerful 7.0 on the Richter scale.

It is not uncommon for measurements to differ just after an earthquake occurs.

Many citizens are believed to be trapped in the rubble, and although seven deaths have been reported at press time, the number is expected to rise.

Officials warn that the damage was severe and the situation is still extremely dangerous. Multiple aftershocks were felt in the region after the initial earthquake.

People searching for survivors in Izmir after the earthquake on Friday. Credit: ajplus/Twitter

Photos from just after the massive earthquake show citizens and rescue workers searching for survivors among the ruins of the city’s buildings.

Yavuz Selim Köşger, Governor of Izmir, announced that 70 people who had been trapped in the rubble had been rescued by special teams, and urged residents to clear the roadways to allow ambulances and emergency vehicles to reach survivors across the city.

According to the international press, 20 buildings have collapsed in the city.

Video from Izmir shows panicked residents frantically calling loved ones and searching through the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Building in Izmir which collapsed after the earthquake on Friday. Credit: ajplus/Twitter

The earthquake caused small tsunamis in the Aegean, leading to flooding in Izmir and the surrounding area.

The earthquake also hit the Greek island of Samos, where many buildings collapsed and flooding was widely reported along the shoreline.

Residents of the island have been told to stay away from the coastline, as the risk of more mini-tsunamis is high in the area.

The earthquake was felt across the region, reaching Athens and Istanbul. As both Greece and Turkey are located along fault lines, earthquakes are common in both countries.