A massive 7.2 magnitude quake struck eastern Turkey Sunday, wreaking havoc on one of Turkey’s poorest regions.
The quake reportedly left as many as 272 people dead and over 1,000 injured, though those numbers are expected to grow as search-and-rescue efforts are still underway.
Close to 1,000 buildings had reportedly collapsed including in Van and Ercis, one of the worst-hit areas where about 80 buildings collapsed– according to the Associated Press, Ercis, the eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border , lies in one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones.
Today, thousands of rescuers searched the rubble for survivors. Efforts involved the help of both construction equipment and rescue dogs, who were helping comb the area for survivors.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck Sunday, 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.
“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 CNN, the main quake was followed by around several aftershocks, including a magnitude 6.0.
Though Sunday’s earthquake was considered large, earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by fault lines. In 1999, an earthquake of 7.6 magnitude stuck Turkey killing more than 17,000 people and during the same year, another 7.2 magnitude quake struck the region, killing 894 people.