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Web Desk
January 25, 2020

Prime minister, army chief express grief at loss of life in Turkey quake


Web Desk
Sat, Jan 25, 2020
Photo: Files

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of lives after a powerful earthquake killed at least 21 people and injured more than 1,000 in eastern Turkey.

The prime minister in a tweet said he regretted the loss of “so many precious lives and of hundreds injured in Turkey’s earthquake”. 

He added that the country’s thoughts and prayers were with the people and government of Turkey.

“Pakistan stands by them and is ready to lend any assistance in this hour of need,” said PM Imran.

Separately, a press release issued by Inter-Service Public Relations said Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in the quake.

“A Pakistan Army contingent, including special rescue and relief team and field medical facilities, are ready as part of assistance offered by the government,” said the press release.

Powerful quake kills 21 in eastern Turkey

Turkish officials and police work at the scene of a collapsed building following a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Elazig, eastern Turkey on January 24, 2020. Photo: AFP 

A powerful earthquake has killed at least 21 people and injured more than 1,000 in eastern Turkey, as rescue teams searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors on Saturday.

The Turkish government's disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said in a series of tweets early on Saturday that five people were pulled alive from the rubble in the eastern province of Elazig.

State news agency Anadolu said among those found alive was a pregnant woman who was rescued 12 hours after the quake hit.

At least 30 people were missing following the magnitude 6.8 quake on Friday night, which had its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig.

"It was very scary, furniture fell on top of us. We rushed outside," 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the provincial capital of Elazig, told AFP.

Eray Ernek described how he was watching television when the quake took place. "I was on the sofa and then fell on the floor. My sleeping father was woken up.

"After we found a way out, we broke the door and got out. We saw other houses had collapsed."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all steps were being taken to aid people affected by the quake, which caused widespread fear.

"We stand by our people," Erdogan said on Twitter.

AFAD said the quake hit Sivrice at around 8.55 pm (1755 GMT). Turkey lies on major faultlines and is prone to frequent earthquakes.

Turkish television showed images of people rushing outside in panic, as well as a fire on the roof of a building.

Interior, environment and health ministers, who were in the quake zone, said the casualties were in Elazig province and in the neighbouring province of Malatya, which lies to the southwest.

At least 21 people died including 17 in Elazig and four in Malatya and 1,030 others were injured, according to AFAD.

Among those injured were residents in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Batman, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaras, it added.

Rescue teams were searching for survivors trapped in a five-storey collapsed building in a village some 30 kilometres from Elazig, according to AFP journalists at the scene. One person was pulled alive from the rubble.

Sports centres, schools and guest houses had been opened to accommodate quake victims in Malatya.

With additional input from AFP