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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 19:00 GMT
Death toll rises in Turkey quake
Earthquake survivors look at a collapsed building in the town of Cay
Survivors survey a collapsed building in the town of Cay
An earthquake registering 6.0 on the Richter scale has struck western Turkey, with latest reports saying that more than 40 people have been killed.

The quake centred on the town of Bolvadin in Afyon province, and was felt as far away as Istanbul, 500 kilometres (300 miles) to the north-west.

There was widespread panic as the quake hit, and some people threw themselves from windows and balconies.

Because today is Sunday and shops are closed, a huge disaster was prevented

Public Works Minister Abdulkadir Akcan
Television reports say that at least 150 people have been injured and a number of buildings have collapsed, trapping those inside.

A French seismic centre in Strasbourg reported that a second, stronger quake had struck western Turkey hours after the first.

However, Ahmet Mete Isikara, head of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory, said that, of the eight aftershocks that followed the initial quake, the strongest measured 5.3.

Warnings broadcast

The Sultandagi and Cay districts of Afyon were reported to have been among the worst hit areas.

Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has travelled to Sultandagi to inspect the damage. Reports said that at least 15 people have died there.

The Mayor of Afyon, Hayrettin Barut, said rescue workers were trying to reach eight people buried under a collapsed house.

The minarets of four mosques are said to have collapsed.

Authorities in Bolvadin broadcast warnings to residents over loudspeakers, urging them to stay out of damaged buildings.

A local hospital took patients into the garden in case of any aftershocks.

The earthquake struck at about 0911 (0711 GMT) on Sunday.

In the province of Konya, one person was reported to have died of a heart attack and seven people were injured jumping from windows and balconies.

Tents sent out

The Turkish Government, which was criticised for reacting too slowly after devastating quakes in 1999, quickly set up a crisis management centre in its foreign ministry.

Public Works Minister Abdulkadir Akcan said the government was sending 3,000 blankets and 1,000 tents to the region.

Damage caused by a quake in Duzce in November 1999
Turkey has a history of devastating earthquakes
But he said the loss of life could have been much worse.

"Because today is Sunday and shops are closed, a huge disaster was prevented."

Greece, which historically has tense relations with Turkey, immediately offered to send rescue workers.

The Athens government also sent help when earthquakes struck western Turkey in 1999, killing about 18,000 people.

Most of the country lies on the North Anatolian fault and minor earthquakes occur frequently.

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher
"The earthquake struck... earlier this morning"

Survivors survey a collapsed building in the town of CayTurkish quake
Send us your experiences of what happened
See also:

27 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
Istanbul quake likely by 2030
17 Aug 00 | Europe
Turks remember quake victims
02 Mar 00 | Europe
Turkey plans quake zone N-plant
13 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Turkey
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