Twenty one dead, more than 700 wounded in earthquake in Turkey's Izmir - Oct. 30

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Turkey’s west coast on Friday, near Izmir, killing 21 people and injuring 786 more, according to latest official figures announced at 00:45 local time.

After the initial earthquake, the sea level dropped, before water flowed into the Seferihisar district to the West of Izmir, inundating houses.

Numerous buildings appear to have been destroyed, including some which were damaged by the initial quake which later collapsed, potentially due to aftershocks.

Clouds of dust filled the air as civilians started the rescue efforts on their own in the immediate aftermath, in Izmir's Bayraklı district.

Twitch streamer falconn2k was recording the moment the earthquake struck, shouting "It's an earthquake!" as he rushes outside and the building shakes.

People started to flee from coastal areas as the sea level started to rise, and soon, Turkish citizens began to post videos showing the destruction in different districts of Izmir.

After ships in the harbour were dragged out to sea, a tsunami was seen approaching the shoreline, and then creeping along the streets of the city.

Ulaş Tuzak, posting from the town of Alaçatı to the West of Izmir took a video of the approaching tsunami wave caused by the earthquake.

In Bornova, several buildings had collapsed completely, and people were filmed calling out to people who may have been trapped under the rubble.

Some houses in Bornova looked to be seriously damaged, and potentially vulnerable to collapse. The financial cost of the earthquake looks set to be severe for Izmir, an area controlled by the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

The earthquake struck at 14:51 local time. The initial shock lasted for around 15 seconds, and the government's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) announced the epicenter of the earthquake as 17.26 kilometers short of Izmir's Seferihisar district, in the Aegean Sea.

Another video of damaged buildings captured one building collapsing in the background.

Videos showed the effects of the tsunami to the west of Izmir being inundated with water as the sea level rose significantly. The coastal area of Seferihisar seemed to be badly affected by the rising water.

Izmir resident Esin Allahverdi who took the video below told TRT that they "ran into the house right away, up to the third floor and that's where we stayed."

Bornova is in the centre of Izmir, while Seferihisar is outside the city, to the South West.

A map of Izmir showing the locations of Bornova and Seferihisar

Another video captured a building in Izmir totally collapsing.

Videos of rescue crews pulling survivors from the rubble started to appear. A young girl was seen being pulled from a collapsed building on Turkish television.

According to HaberTurk, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement that 6 buildings were destroyed. Meanwhile, the U.S. earthquake observatory said the quake was a magnitude 7.

Gürsel Tekin, Vice-President of the opposition CHP, reported that the earthquake had destroyed two public buildings in Izmir:

"As a result of the earthquake in İzmir, the District Governorship building and the Red Crescent Blood Center were destroyed in Bayraklı, the Justice Palace was evacuated because the walls of the Palace were cracked. How will the state, which cannot ensure the security of its own buildings, protect the lives of its citizens? We have to take very urgent and big steps", he said in a since deleted tweet.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that four people so far have been reported killed in the earthquake.

"Unfortunately, 4 of our citizens died in the earthquake in Izmir. In total, 120 citizens were affected by the earthquake. Our 38 ambulances, 35 UMKE team and 2 ambulance helicopters are at the scene. We stand by the people of Izmir with all our support. Sorry for your loss", Koca said.

Footage showed rescue teams pulling another man from the wreckage of a building in Bayraklı.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted "A powerful earthquake has just hit Turkey and the Greek Islands. France stands alongside the Turkish and Greek peoples to face this terrible ordeal. If the governments of these countries so wish, French aid can be immediately dispatched on the spot.

The offer of aid from France recalls the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations which followed the Greek humanitarian aid mission to Turkey in the aftermath of the 1999 Istanbul earthquake. Turkey and France have been in an increasingly tense diplomatic standoff in recent months over a range of issues.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has sent 150 fire department personnel and 21 vehicles to support rescue efforts, municipality spokesman Murat Ongun said.

In a statement, AFAD repoted that the number of aftershocks had risen to 67 of varying magnitudes since the first tremor. Thirteen of the aftershocks were above magnitude 4.0. The death toll has been updated to six, with one person drowning in Seferihisar, and 202 injured.

AFAD said search and rescue efforts were supported by civilian and military helicopters, scout planes and drones. Rescue teams from 14 western provinces have been mobilised while three coordination trucks have headed to the affected zone from the Sakarya, Bursa and Afyon provinces.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance "stands ready to help our Allies Greece and Turkey," while NATO expressed solidarity with "brothers/sisters & friends from İzmir" in a tweet sent out from the Allied Land Command's account in Turkish and English.

"The earthquake near Samos and Izmir has struck our heart," Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a tweet, as he offered assistance from the European Union and NATO.

AFAD has allocated three million liras ($360,000) and the Social Services Ministry has allocated five million liras ($600,000) as emergency relief funds. The Turkish Red Crescent has dispatched mobile kitchens to feed 25,500 people.

Meanwhile, Yol TV reported that patients were being evacuated from hospitals, four of which were damaged by the earthquake. It showed video of patients being evacuated from one of the damaged hospitals.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Tweeted that he had called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to offer his condolences for the damage and loss of life in Izmir. 

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a tweet that he had also received a call from the Greek Foreign Minister. "My Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias called me after the earthquake that affected our country and Greece. We wished each other well. We are both ready to help each other in case of need".

At 19:00 local time, AFAD updated the number of aftershocks to 97 in total, with 20 above magnitude 4.0. The number of injured was updated to 321 and rescue efforts were extended to five more buildings, 17 in total.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government has been accused of downplaying the size of the earthquake.

The Turkish media is "unfortunately forced to" report lower figures for magnitudes of earthquakes in Turkey, to comply with official figures Ankara announces, Geophysics professor Övgün Ahmet Ercan said in a live interview on Fox Turkey.

"Every earthquake is slightly larger than what you report. This was so for Malatya-Elazığ, it is so for this earthquake," Ercan said. The difference between a 6.6 magnitude, like AFAD announced, and a 6.9 magnitude, as Istanbul's Kandilli Observatory announced, is equal to the difference between "two nuclear bombs and 40 nuclear bombs," the professor said.

In a statement issued on 19.45 local time, AFAD updated the death toll to 12, with 419 people injured. With recent tremors, there have been a total of 107 aftershocks, 21 of which were above magnitude 4.0.

Equipment for temporary accommodations for more than 3,500 people, including tents, blankets and camping beds, have been sent to the province. Turkey's Religious Affairs Director Ali Erbaş also announced that mosques would remain open for people who can't spend the night in their own homes. 

In the Greek island Samos, close to the earthquake's epicentre, two uninhabited buildings and part of the Agios Nikolaos Church collapsed. Theodosis Zervoudakis from Nea Dimokratia's local branch said there were no casualties in the island. 

Later reports said two teenagers were killed when a wall collapsed on them in Samos.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said he instructed the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to prepare for emergency aid. Israeli and Turkish military representatives in Israel have already started to coordinate. 

IDF later announced that the country was offering humanitarian aid to Turkey, including an IDF delegation. "In these tough times, we put out a strong hand for help," it said in Turkish.

President Erdoğan, in a speech he gave at an award ceremony, said 438 people had been injured in the earthquake, before AFAD had updated its tally. The president also announced the allocation of emergency funds to the Social Aid and Solidarity Foundations, the government-backed body that distributes public funds to those in need. In the same speech, Erdoğan thanked Greece for offering aid to Turkey, but said the country did not need any help.

Erdoğan said him calling for every Turkish family to have at least three children was "not a random comment, it is important for the future of our country. We must protect the young and trained population," as he spoke of the country's success in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and its disaster response.

In a later tweet Erdoğan offered condolences to Greece and said solidarity between the two neighbours "in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life."

AFAD had announced 475 injuries in the 21:00 update, and the figure has been updated to 607 injured survivors at 22:00 as work continues on collapsed and semi-collapsed buildings. The death toll remained at 12. With the latest arrivals, a total of 2,800 civilian volunteers and military personnel are taking part in the rescue efforts, in addition to 15 dogs and 350 vehicles. Seventy seven psychologists have started speaking with survivors.

Geology scholar Süleyman Pampal said in a live debate on CNN Türk that the buildings that collapsed had been built on alluvial deposit plains, which can't support eight-storey tall buildings. "The principle of building coherently with the foundation has clearly been violated," Pampal said.

The collapsing buildings were focused around the same alluvial deposit area between two small rivers in the city, as one Twitter user pointed out.

Izmir deputy and former prime minister Binali Yıldırım, who also ran for mayor in the province on the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) ticket in 2014, tweeted from the crisis centre in Izmir after 22:00, saying rescue crews were working tirelessly.

According to labour news website Sendika.org, survivors were forced to relocate as the police put up barricades to guard Yıldırım as he visited the city.

AFAD updated the tally to 17 dead and 709 wounded at 23:15 local time, while national news networks broadcast rescue crews communicating with a girl, Buse Hasyılmaz, trapped under the rubble.

Earlier in the day, Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli had spoken to Hasyılmaz, taking the phone out of a rescue worker's hands. In a close-up video taken by Pakdemirli's aide, the little girl could be heard saying to the minister, "Let loose the dogs, and I'll meow like a cat so they can get me."

The girl remains under the rubble, but has told the rescue teams that she could see the dogs.

As of 00:45 local time, 20 people are dead and 786 people are injured, according to AFAD's figures.