At least Four dead in powerful quake in eastern Turkey

A screenshot image of a USGS map showing the earthquake in Turkey on Jan. 24 2020

Turkey's emergency management agency says an quake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has shaken the country's east.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters that there were no reports of any casualties in Sivrice but said the quake may have caused casualties in rural areas outside the town.

Fifteen aftershocks have been felt in the wake, with the strongest registering at 5.4 magnitude, Soylu said.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said two of the victims were killed in Elazig province and two in nearby Malatya province, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

The quake's epicentre was in Elazig province, about 550 km east of the capital, Ankara.

Turkish Airlines said it would conduct additional flights to Elazig province in a bid to ease transportation to the region.

The AFAD said hundreds of tents, beds and thousands of blankets were transported and 28 rescue teams were activated to work on a 24-hour, seven-day basis.

People in Elazig whose homes were damaged were being moved to student dormitories or a sports centre amid freezing conditions.

He had earlier told NTV television that rescuers were trying to reach survivors after a four or five-story building collapsed in the town of Maden in Elazig.

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Mr Soylu was at a meeting on natural disaster preparedness when the quake struck. "We rushed outside", AFP news agency quoted 47-year-old Melahat Can, who lives in the city of Elazig, as saying.

The US Geological Survey assessed the quake's magnitude at 6.7, and said it struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (about six miles).

At least 4 or 5 buildings collapsed in Sivrice, according to local media.

Zekeriya Gunes, 68, a resident of Elazig city, said a building 200 meters down on his street had collapsed but he did not know whether it was inhabited.

Different natural disaster monitoring centers frequently give differing estimates.

Turkey lies on major fault lines and is prone to earthquakes.

The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey including Tunceli, the Turkish broadcaster NTV reported, adding that neighboring cities had mobilized rescue teams for the quake area.

The last major quake to hit the region was in 1927 - a 6.2-magnitude tremor that killed 500 people and injured 700 more.

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