At least 50 hurt after magnitude 6 quake hits northwest Turkey

At least 50 hurt after magnitude 6 quake hits northwest Turkey

A magnitude 6 earthquake struck northwest Turkey during Wednesday’s early hours, injuring at least 50 people, according to Turkish media.

The shallow tremor struck about 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of İstanbul, the country’s largest city, where it was strongly felt.

National authorities said the quake was at a magnitude of 6– lower than the 6.1 given by the US Geological Survey — and its epicenter 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 Çolak 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 including 32 in Düzce, one in İstanbul and the other two in the nearby provinces of Bolu and Zonguldak. Later reports put the number of the injured at 50.

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

He said 70 aftershocks had been recorded.

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.

Authorities said schools would be closed on Wednesday in Düzce and Sakarya provinces.

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

National disaster agency the AFAD said there were controlled blackouts in the Düzce region, urging residents not to panic.

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 İstanbul.

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

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

And in October that year, a magnitude-7.0 quake hit the Aegean Sea, killing 114 people and wounding more than 1,000.