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Turkey earthquake: Death toll climbs to 35 amid huge rescue operation
25 January 2020, 18:35
The death toll from an earthquake in eastern Turkey has reached 35 amid a large rescue operation to find survivors.
Over 1,600 people were injured in the disaster and rescue workers continue to search for missing people from the rubble.
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) confirmed that 45 people have been pulled from underneath collapsed buildings.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned the death toll could rise in coming days and emergency services were searching for people in Elazig province and neighbouring Malatya.
Meanwhile, security forces are assisting the relief effort by distributing almost 10,000 tents and 17,000 hot meals throughout the night as temperatures dropped below freezing.
Community buildings such as schools, sports halls, student dorms and mosques have been opened for hundreds who left their homes after the quake hit.
Emre Gocer, whose family is being sheltered at a sports hall in the town of Sivrice, told reporters that the earthquake "was very severe, we desperately ran out (of our home)".
"We don't have a safe place to stay right now."
Earthquake monitoring centres gave magnitudes ranging from 6.5 to 6.8 and registered a further 228 aftershocks in the hours after the disaster.
Dozens of buildings were completely destroyed in the disaster and hundreds of other structures were damaged and made unsafe, said Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum.
Footage showed emergency workers removing two people from the wreckage of a collapsed building in the town of Gezin.
Another person was saved in the city of Elazig and two more from a house in Doganyol, Malatya.