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Turkey Earthquake: 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Turkey

APTOPIX Turkey Quake
People try to save people trapped under debris in Tabanli village near the city of Van after a powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday Oct. 23, 2011, collapsing some buildings and causing a number of deaths, an official said. ( AP Photo/ Abdurrahman Antakyali, Aatolia)
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People try to save people trapped under debris in Tabanli village near the city of Van after a powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday Oct. 23, 2011, collapsing some buildings and causing a number of deaths, an official said. ( AP Photo/ Abdurrahman Antakyali, Aatolia)

A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday, injuring many and leaving many others, dead.

The official death toll has not been released but reports say at least 50 were injured in the strong quake.

“We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000,” said Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, during a televised news conference.

“There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed. There is too much destruction,” Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told NTV television, according to the Associated Press. “We need urgent aid. We need medics.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck nearly 10 miles from Van shortly after 1:30 p.m. local time. The magnitude was originally reported as 7.3 but later changed to 7.2. The quake had a depth of 12.4 miles.

According to CNN, the main quake was followed by around several aftershocks, including a magnitude 5.8.

The quake caused over 20 buildings to collapse, a seven-story building collapsed in Van and sent people pouring into the streets, trying to escape the rubble. Besides buildings, Van’s airport was also reportedly damaged and planes were diverted to neighboring airports.

Though Sunday’s earthquake was considered large, earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by fault lines.

With the Associated Press.

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