18 killed, 500 injured as 6.8 magnitude earthquake jolts Turkey's eastern province

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake was followed by as many as 60 aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 5.4; with tremors felt in neighboring Syria, Lebanon and Iran

A massive earthquake that struck Turkey's eastern region, with tremors felt in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, took place on Friday, Jan. 24 at 8:55 pm local time. As many as 18 people were killed, more than 500 injured and damaged several buildings. Relief and rescue operations are underway with condolences pouring in from world over.

Earthquake Representational Image
Image for Representational purpose only

What we know about Friday's earthquake that struck eastern Turkey?

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey's Elazig province, located at the country's east. The quake took place at a depth of 6.7km (4.1 miles) near the town of Sivrice in Elazig

Tremors were felt in the country's other sites, such as Adana, Hatay, Osmaniye, Tunceli, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Malatya; Anadolu News Agency reported. Quakes were felt in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, as well. As many as 60 aftershocks were felt, according to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The earthquake has left 18 persons dead, with over 500 injured. Several buildings came crumbling down, which sent residents rushing on the streets.

Relief and rescue operation

Footage have emerged which show rescuers pulling people out of the collapsed buildings.

400 rescue teams have been sent by Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). Officials have sent beds, tents and blankets to the area, where overnight temperatures regularly fall below zero.

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, have rushed to the quake-hit Elazig province. In a statement, Turkey's Interior Minister said, "Search and rescue teams were sent to the region, and further information is yet to come". Country's Defense Minister pledged military support, if needed.

Turkey's largest humanitarian organization, the Turkish Red Crescent, has sent rescue team to the quake-hit region. Mobile kitchens, which serve upto 5,000 people were also sent to the region.

In 2010, a 6-magnitude earthquake in Elazig, claimed 51 lives and injured dozens. A massive earthquake in 1999 in the western city of Izmit, claimed as many as 17,000 lives.