Turkey quake death toll surpasses 600

October 31st, 2011 - 11:13 pm ICT by BNO News  

VAN, TURKEY (BNO NEWS) — The death toll as a result of a powerful earthquake which devastated eastern Turkey earlier this month has surpassed 600, officials said on Monday. It is feared the death toll will continue to rise.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Administration (AFAD) on Monday said the overall death toll has reached 601 after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck 16 kilometers (9 miles) north-northeast of Van, the capital of the province which carries the same name, on October 23.

The earthquake, which also injured more than 4,100 people, destroyed more than 3,700 buildings in the city of Van and the surrounding region, trapping scores of people underneath the rubble. Officials at Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory estimate the final death toll could be as high as 1,000.

More than 6,200 rescue workers, including some 1,800 medical personnel, have responded to the region since the earthquake, which is the country’s most powerful earthquake in over a decade. A total of 20 countries, including Israel, Russia and France, have provided aid.

The Turkish Red Crescent has so far distributed 44,164 tents, 60 prefabricated houses, 165,531 blankets, 1,179 quilts, 37 portable kitchens, 3,051 kitchen sets, 6,915 catalytic stoves, 5,792 sleeping bags, 1,000 folding beds and one mobile oven. Rescue workers are also distributing three meals a day.

This month’s earthquake is the deadliest in Turkey since a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck D├╝zce province in November 1999, killing nearly 900 people. It happened just months after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Turkey, killing at least 17,118 people and injuring nearly 50,000 others.

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