Egypt Independent

Strong quake off Turkish and Greek coasts kills two, injures scores



A powerful earthquake killed at least two people and injured dozens when it struck near major Turkish and Greek tourist destinations in the Aegean Sea early on Friday, officials said.

Local officials said 100 people were injured on the Greek island of Kos, a destination favored by British holidaymakers. The identity of the victims was not immediately known.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management authority, AFAD, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3, with its epicenter 11 km from the nearest settlement, the village of Camlik. Other reports put the quake magnitude at 6.7.

In Turkey’s Bodrum, about 70 people were admitted to hospital with injuries suffered in their attempts to flee the overnight tremor, which struck at 1:31 am.

It was the second quake of magnitude exceeding 6.0 in the region this year — a level that can cause considerable damage.

Greek authorities sent helicopters to airlift the injured, said Yiorgos Hadjimarkou, head of the South Aegean region. “Our primary concern right now is [safeguarding] human life,” he told Greek state broadcaster ERT.

The Greek coast guard said the port of Kos was damaged, and a ferry was unable to dock.

The quake could cause a small tsunami, the European quake agency EMSC said, but Turkish broadcasters cited officials saying large waves were more likely.

Several stores were damaged in Bodrum’s Gumbet district by rising sea levels, store owners told broadcaster NTV.

The Kostoday website showed images of rising sea levels and parts of the flooded tourist strip, with large chunks of rubble elsewhere. One picture showed a small fishing boat on a road. The tidal wave was about 70 cm high, a seismologist told Greek TV.

Turkey’s emergency authorities warned against aftershocks, but added there had been no casualties or major damage. “Our people should know that aftershocks are continuing, so they should refrain from entering damaged or vulnerable structures,” AFAD head Mehmet Halis Bilden told broadcaster CNN Turk.

Television footage from the province of Mugla showed hundreds of people abandoning buildings and waiting on the streets, as cars shook and items fell off store shelves.

Turkey’s location between the Arabian tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate renders it prone to earthquakes.

In October 2011, more than 600 people died in the eastern province of Van following a 7.2-magnitude quake and powerful aftershocks. In 1999, two massive earthquakes killed about 20,000 people in Turkey’s densely populated northwest. The same year, a 5.9 magnitude quake killed 143 people in Greece.