At least four people have been killed in western Turkey after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea Friday afternoon. The earthquake sent buildings crashing down on the country’s coast and on a nearby Greek island.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the death toll on Twitter, as people in and around the Turkish city of Izmir gathered in the streets after running out of buildings to seek safety. At least 120 people have been injured.
Izmir’s mayor told CNN that at least 20 buildings were destroyed. People were digging through rubble to look for victims.
TV footage showed water flooding through the streets in Izmir province as well as the Greek island of Samos. As of late Friday afternoon, no tsunami warnings had been issued.
Izmir Gov. Yavuz Selim Köşger said search teams had rescued 70 injured people and asked people to stay off the roads so emergency vehicles could reach affected areas.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.0 on the Richter scale, while Turkish authorities said it was 6.6. The quake struck 8.7 miles (14 kilometers) northeast of the town of Néon Karlovásion on Samos. The USGS reported that the earthquake struck at 1:51 p.m. Greek time, 7:51 a.m. EDT.
It hit at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles, making its impact powerfully felt at ground level around the epicenter. Authorities in both countries have reported dozens of aftershocks.
Samos Deputy Mayor Giorgos Dionisiou told Greek media that some old buildings had collapsed on the island.
The chief of Samos Hospital, Nikos Stefanis, said there had been only four minor injuries reported so far. There have been no reports there of people trapped under rubble.
David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, tweeted, “My thoughts are with all the Greek and Turkish people affected by the strong earthquake that hit the Aegean Sea. Together, with the other EU institutions, we are following the situation closely. The EU stands ready to help.”
This is a developing story.