The Earthquake in Turkey has been felt in Iraq and Syria and has caused injuries and serious destruction of property.
At least 22 people died and more than a thousand were injured in the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the province of Elazig in southeast Turkey, according to the latest information released today by AFAD, Turkey's public emergency agency.
The death toll from the quake, the strongest on record in Turkey since 2011, was 21 at 7.00 GMT, but there are fears that it could increase because some 30 people are still trapped under collapsed buildings, officials said.
|Earthquake eastern Turkey.|
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Earthquake in TurkeyEmergency teams have rescued several people alive from under the rubble.
In the last few hours, rescue teams have managed to rescue several people alive who had been under the rubble for more than 12 hours, including a pregnant woman, and the work continues, reported NTV.
About 1,030 people have been treated in hospitals in the region, the vast majority in Elazig, but the earthquake has injured people in six neighboring provinces, according to AFAD.
In the center of Elazig, a city of half a million, three buildings collapsed, but the epicenter of the earthquake is in Sivrice, a municipality of 10,000 about 20 kilometers (20 miles) south of the provincial capital.
|Earthquake In Elazig Turkey.|
The earthquake has left more than a thousand people injuredSince the tremor, which occurred at 17.55 GMT on Friday, more than 270 aftershocks have been recorded, twelve of them above a magnitude of 4 on the Richter scale.
However, both telecommunications and electricity, water and gas distribution systems are functioning in the region, officials said.
More than 1,000 rescue professionals with 18 rescue dogs have moved into the province and more than 8,500 tents have been distributed to people who have lost their homes, in addition to other aid.
|Turkey is one of the most seismically active countries in the world|
Dozens of homes have collapsed in the quakeTurkey is one of the most seismically active countries in the world because it is located on several active faults, but tremors below magnitude 6, which are not uncommon in western Anatolia, usually do not cause casualties and usually cause only minor damage.
The most devastating earthquake in recent decades occurred in 1999, when a magnitude 7.4 quake struck the Marmara region in the northwest, killing some 17,000 people, while the Van quake in the far southeast, with a magnitude of 7.1, killed 604 people in October 2011.
Twenty-two dead and more than a thousand injured is the latest toll of the earthquake that struck the provinces of Elazig and Malatya in eastern Turkey at nine o'clock last night. Rescue efforts have been going on all night trying to free the victims buried under the rubble in temperatures of minus eight degrees Celsius.
At least 22 of them are still trapped, a pregnant woman being released alive 13 hours after the building collapsed, and hope is growing.
Thousands of survivors have spent the night in sports halls, schools and mosques. In usually pastoral villages like Sivrice, the epicentre of the 6.8 earthquake, many had to resort to lighting bonfires in the middle of the street and huddling under blankets in the face of the panic caused by a dozen aftershocks of more than four magnitudes, in the middle of a landscape of lakes and snow-covered mountains.
34 of the injured are in intensive careTen years ago, another earthquake in Elazig - 550 km east of Ankara - caused 51 deaths, largely due to poor building quality. On this occasion at the very least five buildings have collapsed in Elaziz and many more have been damaged.
Twenty-five houses have collapsed in the neighbouring province of Malatya, with a provisional death toll of four in Doganyol district.
The newly appointed Minister of the Interior, Süleyman Soylu, visited Elazig in the middle of the night, with extensive security measures. According to him, thirty-nine victims have been rescued alive so far. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that 128 of the injured had required hospitalisation, 34 of whom were in intensive care.
Rescue teams are relying on images captured by dronesRescue efforts are taking full advantage of the use of drones to detect sinking.
They also provide an unusual picture, with dozens of soldiers on the ground with machine guns. Although Elazig is a conservative and nationalist Turkish town, where the party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan prevails, in its province - with a long and proud Armenian past - there are currently many Kurdish majority towns.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is active in the area and a little over three years ago carried out a suicide car bomb attack on the Elazig police station, killing at least five police officers - 105 according to the group - and injuring another eighty-five, as well as 140 pedestrians.