Strong earthquake in eastern Turkey causes damage, injuries

A strong earthquake shook eastern Turkey on Monday, damaging buildings and injuring at least 18 people two days after another quake in the region, authorities said.

The earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 was centered in rural Bingol province at struck at 3:55 a.m. (0135 GMT), toppling several buildings that had been badly damaged in Saturday's magnitude 5.7 temblor, officials said.

Authorities said there no reports of any deaths, but at least 18 people were injured, including two women who had been trapped in rubble and were rescued and taken to the hospital, the Anatolia news agency reported.

"A great deal of destruction is out of question, but we have determined that some animals were killed," Erkan Capar, a senior local official, told the Anatolia news agency, adding some empty village buildings had collapsed. "Our teams have begun combing through villages. So far, there's nothing serious."

Anatolia said that more than 450 houses in 24 villages in Bingol were affected, suffering either serious or slight damage.

Television footage showed panicked residents huddling around fires outside to keep warm in the snow covered area. Scores of people have been staying in tents since Saturday's quake and authorities were distributing more tents Monday.

Helicopters and soldiers also took supplies to quake-hit villages whose roads were blocked - some by avalanches apparently triggered by the quake, Anatolia said.

Bingol is 700 kilometers (430 miles) east of Ankara.

Saturday's earthquake damaged more than 200 hundred buildings and injured 16 people, according to the prime minister's office.

Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which lies atop active fault lines. Two massive quakes killed some 18,000 people in 1999.

A magnitude 6.4 quake in Bingol killed 177 people in 2003.

Associated Press

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