50 injured after magnitude 5.9 quake pounds northwest Turkey

Düzce Governor Cevdet Atay said that schools in the region were being closed as a precaution



File photo
File photo

By Agencies

Published: Wed 23 Nov 2022, 6:39 AM

Last updated: Wed 23 Nov 2022, 12:17 PM

A magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck northwest Turkey in the early hours of Wednesday, injuring at least 50 people.

The shallow tremor struck about 170km east of Istanbul, the country's largest city, where it was strongly felt.

National authorities said the quake was at a magnitude of 5.9 — lower than the 6.1 given by the US Geological Survey — and its epicentre was in Düzce province's Gölyaka district, though it also shook other nearby cities.

"We were woken up with a big noise and tremor," Düzce resident Fatma Colak told AFP.

"We got out of our homes in panic and now we are waiting outside."

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 35 people were injured — 32 in Düzce, one in Istanbul and the other two in the nearby provinces of Bolu and Zonguldak.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, who visited Gölyaka, said one person was seriously hurt after jumping from a balcony out of panic.

Initial images showed people covered in blankets outside their homes during the early morning. Some were seen placing blankets on the floor outside, and lighting fires for warmth.

Düzce Governor Cevdet Atay said that schools in the region were being closed as a precaution.

Soylu said that apart from a few ruined barns, there were no reports of heavy damage or building collapses, but inspections were continuing.

He said that authorities would check 8,000 buildings for any damage.

National disaster agency AFAD said that there were controlled blackouts in the Düzce region, urging residents not to panic. It also said that 101 aftershocks had been recorded.

Turkey is in one of the world's most active earthquake zones.

Düzce was one of the regions hit by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999 — the worst to hit Turkey in decades.

That quake killed more than 17,000 people, including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.

A magnitude-6.8 quake hit Elazig in January 2020, killing more than 40 people.

In November that year, a magnitude 7.0 quake hit the Aegean Sea, killing 114 people and wounding more than 1,000.

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