At Least Four Dead as Major Earthquake Shakes Turkey and Greece

At least four people have died after a powerful magnitude 7 earthquake struck off Turkey's coast, destroying buildings and triggering a tsunami warning.

Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) announced the deaths in a statement before health minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed the fatalities in a tweet. He also said 120 people were injured with medics and ambulance helicopters at the scene. The full extent of the injuries and deaths is unclear.

The epicenter of the tremor was in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey's Izmir province at a depth of 10 km, the US Geological Survey said, and shocks from the earthquake were felt as far away as Athens in Greece and Istanbul, which sits over 200 miles away. The tremor is reported to have triggered a mini-tsunami that flooded a port on the Greek island of Samos.

Videos and pictures posted to social media showed buildings collapsing to rubble with people scouring the ruins, though have yet to be independently verified. Smoke was also filmed in several areas, while others shared videos of water flooding the streets after the tsunami warning was issued.

In Izmir, Turkey's third largest city, many people were seen running out into the streets in panic and fear after the quake struck. Around 20 buildings have collapsed, Turkish officials said.

Footage aired by the Turkish news agency DHA showed at least one building flattened and people climbing atop the debris to shout for survivors in the rubble.

Earthquake ruins in Izmir, Turkey
A man walks among debris of collapsed buildings in Izmir, Turkey, after a magnitude 7 earthquake Mehmet Emin Menguarslan/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Izmir seferihisar da yasanan depremden sonra deniz taştı. Ust katlarda mahsur kaldik. Cok fazla zarar var. pic.twitter.com/TFhkjjKFGa

— zebercet (@beril_d) October 30, 2020

Residents of Samos, which has a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas. Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece's organisation for anti-seismic planning, told Greece's Skai TV: "It was a very big earthquake, it's difficult to have a bigger one."

Turkey and Greece both sit on fault lines and earthquakes are common. In January more than 30 people were killed and more than 1,600 injured when an earthquake struck Sivrice in Turkey's eastern Elazig province.

In July 2019, the Greek capital of Athens was hit by a tremor that knocked out power to large parts of the city. A powerful quake that struck the Turkish city of Izmit, near Istanbul, in 1999 killed about 17,000 people.

The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation said it had sent a 250-person search-and-rescue team from 60 provinces in Turkey to the earthquake area.