Friday, 20 May 2011

Six magnitude quake shakes northwest Turkey,

People flocked to streets in Kütahya's Simav district after a series of tremors shook the neighborhood late on Thursday.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 shook northwest Turkey on Thursday evening, according to data from the US Geological Survey, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

It said the epicentre of the quake was 50 miles (80 km) west-southwest of the town of Kütahya. The tremor also shook buildings further north in Turkey's largest city İstanbul.

Anatolia news agency reported that one people in Simav was hospitalized after a heart attack because of the quake but he could not be saved. Another woman (75) also has become a victim of a heart attack during the earthquake in Bursa's İnegöl district. Later reports said, however, one man jumped out of a window in a panic during the temblor. News agencies also reported that more than 50 people were injured by early Friday.

Turkey's Kandilli earthquake observatory said the quake had a magnitude of 5.9 and that its epicentre was the district of Simav in Kütahya province. It said an aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 shook Simav just 10 minutes later.

Major geological faultines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.

Anatolia news agency reported that one building that belongs to Dumlupınar university in Kütahya was collapsed but there were no casualities because the building was empty.

Dozens of ambulances and health workers were dispatched to Simav district following the series of tremors.

Windows of several buildings in the province were smashed, telephone networks and electricity were cut off.

Governors of most city and provinces in northwestern Turkey told reporters early on Friday that there is no damage in their cities but they are ready to dispatch aid to Simav district if needed.

NTV television cited a resident in Simav as saying some buildings were damaged. The quake toppled the minaret of a mosque in the town of Pazarcık, TGRT television said.

Hatice Ünlü, a resident of the town of Tavşanlı in Kütahya province, told TV8 channel that the temblor caused great panic.

"Furniture swayed and plates fell on the floor. I struggled to save my computer before rushing out," Ünlü said. "We fear to return home."

İdris Bal, a lawmaker who was in Kütahya, said he experienced the quake at the fifth floor of an apartment building.

"It was so strong that we could not even move in the first few seconds," Bal told NTV television. "People are waiting in their cars now."

The quake was felt as far as the Aegean city of İzmir, northwestern city of Bursa, İstanbul and even the city of Edirne, close to the Greek and Bulgarian borders.

Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by faultlines.

In March last year, a 6.0-magnitude quake knocked down stone and mud-brick houses in five villages in Elazığ province in eastern Turkey, killing 51 people. In 2003, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingöl, including 84 children whose school dormitory collapsed.