ISTANBUL: A strong 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday (Oct 30), collapsing buildings in the city of Izmir in western Turkey, killing at least six people and injuring scores more according to officials.
The quake struck at around 11.50am GMT (7.50pm Singapore time) and was felt along Turkey's Aegean coast and the north-western Marmara region, including in Istanbul, media said.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said there were no reports of damage in the city, Turkey's largest.
The epicentre was some 17km off the coast of Izmir province, at a depth of 16km, AFAD said.
The USGS said the depth was 10km and that the epicentre was 33.5km off Turkey's coast.
The quake was also felt in Greece, where injuries and damage have been reported on the island of Samos.
The six killed in Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, include one person who drowned, while 202 have been injured, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD.
AFAD put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.6, while the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said it was 7.0.
Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger said at least 70 people were rescued from the wreckage.
He said four buildings were destroyed and more than 10 collapsed, while others were also damaged.
Search and rescue efforts are continuing in at least 12 buildings, AFAD said.
Turkish media showed wreckage of a multiple-storey building, with people climbing it to start rescue efforts. Smoke rose from several spots.
Videos on Twitter showed flooding in the city's Seferhisar district, and Turkish officials and broadcasters called on people to stay off the streets after reports of traffic congestion.
A small tsunami struck the Seferisar district, according Haluk Ozener, director of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute.
At least four people were slightly injured on Samos, where a tsunami warning was issued, with some damage to buildings and the road network also reported there.
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 38 ambulances, two ambulance helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams working in Izmir.
People flooded onto the streets in the tourist city of Izmir, witnesses said, after the quake struck the region.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said earlier that there were no reports of casualties from six other provinces where the earthquake was felt, but said there were small cracks in some buildings.
Residents of Samos, which has a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas, Efthymios 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," said Lekkas.
Greek seismologist Akis Tselentis told Greek state broadcaster ERT that the quake was believed to be the main earthquake, but that potentially powerful aftershocks could be expected for several weeks, or even a month, to come due to the shallow depth of its epicentre.
He said residents of affected areas must be careful not to enter buildings that might have been damaged in the initial quake, as they could collapse in a strong aftershock.
The earthquake was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far away as the Greek capital, Athens, and in Bulgaria.