Rescuers continue to dug through heavy blocks of concrete with their bare hands early on Saturday, in a desperate search for survivors from a powerful earthquake that levelled buildings across Greece and Turkey, killing at least 26 people.
Much of the damage in Turkey occurred in and around the Aegean resort city of Izmir, which has three million residents and is filled with high-rise apartment blocks. It was unclear how many people were trapped in the rubble.
The quake also caused a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and a sea surge that turned streets into rushing rivers in one town on Turkey’s west coast.
Turkish officials confirmed 24 dead and nearly 800 injured after the quake hit the coastal province of Izmir.
In Greece, two teenagers – a boy and a girl – were killed on the island of Samos when a building collapsed on top of them.
People flooded onto the streets in the Turkish city of Izmir after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit, witnesses said. The wreckage of multiple-story buildings in the city’s centre could be seen with people climbing out to escape. Smoke rose into the sky in several areas.
Images on social media showed water rushing through the streets of Izmir from an apparent sea surge.
Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk about 20 buildings collapsed. The city is the third-largest in Turkey with about 4,5 million residents. Turkey’s interior minister tweeted six buildings in Izmir were destroyed.
Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger said at least 70 people had been rescued from the wreckage. He said four buildings were destroyed and more than 10 collapsed, while others also were damaged.
Search-and-rescue efforts were continuing in at least 12 buildings.
Ilke Cide, a doctoral student who was in Izmir’s Guzelbahce region at the time of the earthquake, said he went inland after waters rose after the earthquake.