Strong 6.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Eastern Turkey, At Least 18 Dead

January 24, 2020 Updated: January 25, 2020

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described it as “serious tremor” and said four to five buildings collapsed in Sivrice, The Associated Press reported. The local Disaster and Emergency Management Authority has since updated the death toll to 18, The Independent reported.

“Search and rescue teams were sent to the region, and further information is yet to come,” Soylu said, reported state media

The tremblor hit about 2 miles east-northeast of Doganyol, located about 100 miles north of the Syrian border.

The USGS said the quake hit at a depth of about 6 miles (10 kilometers).

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.9. The EMSC added that the quake was also felt in Iraq, Syria, and Israel.

People on social media shared videos of shaking furniture and trembling in various cities across Turkey. One video showed what appeared to be a destroyed building while people attempted to climb into the rubble.

It was “felt in Diyarbakir, Adana, Urfa, Hatay & even in Syria’s Idlib,” one person said on Twitter.

Turkish state-backed news outlet Anadolu posted a video of what appears to a building shaking due to the quake.

On the Anadolu website, a photo showed local people standing outside a building. The outlet didn’t report on whether there were injuries or damage.

Doganyol, a town of about 4,500 people, is located in the Eastern Anatolia Region, which has the lowest population density in Turkey.

Turkey is a seismically active area located where the Arabian, Eurasian, and African tectonic plates meet and collide. Most of the country lies along the Anatolian Plate.

About 1,900 years ago, in 115 AD, a major earthquake in Antioch killed around 200,000 people. About 400 years later, in 526 AD, another major earthquake struck near Antioch—located near the present-day Antakya, Turkey—killing 250,000. Both quakes caused severe damage to the ancient city.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 1939 near Erzincan left more than 32,000 people dead.