At least nineteen people have been killed in Turkey and Greece following a strong earthquake which hit the Aegean Sea on Friday.
The quake, which reportedly lasted twenty-five-to-thirty seconds, brought buildings crashing down and set off tidal waves.
People ran onto streets in panic in the Turkish city of Izmir, witnesses said, after the quake struck with a magnitude of up to 7.0. Neighbourhoods were deluged with surging seawater which swept debris inland and left fish stranded as it receded.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said seventeen people died, one due to drowning, while 709 people were injured.
On the Greek island of Samos, two teenagers, a boy and a girl, were found dead in an area where a wall had collapsed.
Search and rescue operations continued at seventeen collapsed or damaged buildings in Izmir, Reuters reported AFAD as saying early on Saturday. It also said authorities were setting up tents with a total capacity of 2,000 people near areas with the highest damage.
Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Turkey is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude quake struck Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul.
In 2011, a quake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.