Sunday, a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked eastern Turkey, injuring over 100 and leaving many others, dead.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are working to bring assistance to this stricken region,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally at this difficult time, and are ready to assist the Turkish authorities.”
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.
The official death toll has not been released but reports say over 80 have died due to the strong quake.
Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, said during a televised news conference, “We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000.”
The quake took down an estimated 10 buildings in Van and a reported 80 buildings in Ercis, a city close to the Iranian border.
“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 CNN, the main quake was followed by around several aftershocks, including a magnitude 5.8. Though Sunday’s earthquake was considered large, earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by fault lines.