22 Dead, Over 1,100 Hurt As Earthquake Hits Turkey

The death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey climbed to 22 on Saturday as rescue crews searched for people who remained trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, officials said.

Speaking at a televised news conference near the epicenter of the quake in Elazig province, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 18 people were killed in Elazig and four in neighboring Malatya.

Some 1,103 people were injured, with 34 of them in intensive care but not in critical condition, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the funeral of a mother and son killed in the quake while visiting the hardest-hit areas. He warned people against repeating “negative” hearsay about the country being unprepared for earthquakes.

“Do not listen to rumors, do not listen to anyone’s negative, contrary propaganda, and know that we are your servants,” Erdogan said.

Various earthquake monitoring centers gave magnitudes ranging from 6.5 to 6.8. for the earthquake, which hit Friday at 8:55 p.m. local time (1755 GMT) near the Elazig province town of Sivrice, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

It was followed by 398 aftershocks, the strongest of them with magnitudes 5.4 and 5.1, the disaster agency said.

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