A 6.6-magnitude earthquake occurred in Izmir. The earthquake affected the coast of Seferihisar district in the western province of Izmir on Friday (today). The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) made the statement earlier today. The tremors occurred in the Aegean Sea at a depth of 16.5 kilometers (10.3 miles). However, people felt it across Turkey’s third-largest city and as far away as Istanbul in the north.
Earthquake in Izmir Took 12 Lives So Far
According to AFAD, the earthquake took 12 lives, and more than 400 others were injured. Crews were working to rescue survivors from the rubble of 12 buildings and rescue works are continuing. Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Köşger told reporters that the disaster destroyed four buildings. Happily, 70 were rescued from the rubble. He said one of the fatalities had drowned.
19 Aftershocks Occurred After the Earthquake
Professor Haluk Özener, head of the Boğaziçi University Kandilli Observatory Earthquake Research Institute, made a statement in Istanbul on Friday. He said that there have been 19 aftershocks between the magnitudes of 3.3 and 4.8 since the earthquake. They lasted for more than 15 seconds. He also said a 30 to 40-kilometer fault line ruptured during the tremor.
The quake was strong enough to send people into the streets in panic in a country. The reason for the country has seen major earthquakes that killed thousands in the past. Rescue workers pulled out alive three people but injured from the rubble of a building in Izmir’s Bayraklı district.
People Rushed Into the Earthquake Areas in Izmir
Television footage and videos circulating on social media showed people desperately removing the debris of some collapsed buildings. Thus, they were trying to reach the people trapped under the rubble. AFAD warned people in Izmir and neighboring provinces to stay away from their homes if there was visible damage to the buildings.
Secondary Earthquakes Might Follow the Main Disaster
Kandilli Observatory’s Earthquake Research Institute also urged people to stay away from damaged buildings. Furthermore, they warned people that a secondary earthquake could cause more to collapse. “There could be secondary earthquakes of up to 5.8 magnitudes. What’s more, a strong tremor could knock down already damaged buildings,” Doğan Kalafat of the institute told broadcaster CNN Türk. Footage from the region also showed a small-scale tsunami, particularly powerful in the coastal town of Sığacık in Seferihisar.
The Earthquake Also Felt in Greece and Bulgaria
Across the eastern Greek islands and even in the Greek capital Athens, people felt the quake, too. Local authorities confirmed a boy and a girl died after rescue workers found unconscious in an area where a wall had collapsed near Vathy. It is, by the way, a town on the island of Samos. Greek media said the residents of Samos and other islands fled their homes. Some broadcaster also reported that some rockfalls were destroyed. On the other hand, Bulgaria also felt the earthquake.
Greek seismologist Efthymios Lekkas told Greek state television ERT that it was still too early to say whether this was the main earthquake. Though, he said it was likely it was. “It is an event that is evolving,” Lekkas said. Moreover, he also added that experts had reported some damage in parts of Samos. There is also a tsunami warning in the area, with residents of the Samos area told to stay away from the coastline. Seawater rose above the dock in the main harbor of Samos and flooded the street. The regional governor of the Samos region, Yiannis Stamoulis, said there are no injuries on the island. There are also some warnings for residents to stay away from buildings, as aftershocks continued to rattle the area.
The Last Major Earthquake in Izmir in 2005
The last major earthquake to hit Izmir was in October 2005, with an epicenter near Seferihisar. Three earthquakes between the magnitudes of 5.7 and 5.9 over four days rocked the city and nearby Aydın then. However, there was no major damage, while two people died of a heart attack.
Experts say the Aegean region often generates earthquakes but usually at sea. The seabed and land consist of fault lines. They expect more aftershocks and smaller earthquakes as they anticipate the cracks in fault lines to linger. Though, their magnitude will diminish over time.
Turkey is an Earthquake Country
Turkey is among the world’s most seismically active zones as it locates on several active fault lines. The most potentially devastating being the Northern Anatolia Fault (NAF), the meeting point of the Anatolian and Eurasian tectonic plates. It has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past. Those are including the 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Gölcük in 1999. The earthquake had killed more than 17,000 people in the greater region. The last major earthquake, on the other hand, was in January, with a magnitude of 6.7. It killed 41 people in the eastern provinces of Elazığ and Malatya and injured 1,607 others.
Earthquake in Izmir in World Press
So, the earthquake became a wide agenda on the world press. The Guardian, NYTimes, BBC, Aljazeera saw the disaster on their first pages. So, we also wish all the best for those who live in Izmir. Our condolences are also with those who lost their lives in the disaster. We hope that it would never happen such a disaster both in Turkey and the world.