At least 26 people were killed and more than 700 injured when a powerful earthquake struck the western part of Turkey and adjoining Greece. It is feared that the toll may rise further. The tremor which took place on Friday has been recorded at 7.0 on the Richter Scale. It needs to be stated that Turkey, Greece and parts of the southern Mediterranean lie in an earthquake prone zone.
The highest casualties have been recorded in and around the Aegean resort city of Izmir, the third most populous city of Turkey and one which is filled with high-rise buildings. The scale of the destruction can be gauged from the CCTV footages recorded at numerous places. In one such footage apartment blocks can be seen turning into rubble after the quake hit and people running out of their homes and offices in sheer panic. In another video, the staff at a restaurant can be seen cowering under the tables after the tremor shook the building.
The city of Izmir was covered with thick white plumes at many places where large apartment blocks had collapsed. Rescuers with chain-saw and sniffer dogs could be seen helping the affected people come out of the rubble.
The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom also said that the world body was closely monitoring the situation in Turkey and Greece.
Meanwhile, the social media was filled with condolences and prayers for those deceased and injured. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, putting away the differences between the two countries, also called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer his support. The United States hailed both leaders’ signs of diplomacy in this hour of grief.
This is not the first time that a tremor has rocked the eastern Mediterranean in the recent past. In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude struck the northwestern part of Turkey where more than 17,000 people were killed. In 2017 too, a low intensity earthquake struck the Greek island of Kos.