Turkey: Toddler pulled alive from rubble after earthquake kills at least 31 people

24 January 2020, 23:56 | Updated: 26 January 2020, 14:11

Footage has emerged of a two-year-old girl being rescued from rubble in Turkey after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake.

The toddler, who was covered in dust, was seen smiling while in the arms of a rescue worker.

At least 31 people have been killed following the earthquake in the country's east - and it is feared that more than 20 others are still trapped under debris.

More than 1,550 people were injured, including 34 who are in intensive care.

The quake jolted Elazig province, which is around 340 miles (550km) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

People died in Elazig and in the neighbouring province of Malatya. Rescue efforts are continuing at three sites in Elazig.

Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes as buildings collapsed in affected towns near the centre of the tremor, which was felt in several neighbouring countries.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travelled to Elazig and Malatya and said housing officials would make sure no one was left "hungry or in the open".

Officials have identified 514 heavily damaged and 409 lightly damaged buildings in both locations.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described the earthquake as a "level three" incident, according to Turkey's emergency response plan - meaning that it called for a national response but did not require international help.

Elazig residents whose homes were damaged were being moved to student dormitories or sports centres amid freezing conditions.

Mr Soylu added that the country, which is prone to earthquakes, had learnt lessons from past disasters which helped it address Friday's quake.

Drones were deployed in search operations and communication between provinces.

The quake struck at 8.55pm local time (5.55pm UK time) at a depth of four miles (6.7km), near the town of Sivrice in Elazig, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

It was followed by 401 aftershocks, 14 of which had magnitudes of over 4.0.

Residents were warned not to return to damaged buildings.

AFAD said beds, blankets and tents were being sent to the area, where the overnight temperature dipped to -8C (17.6F).

Turkey has a history of powerful earthquakes.

In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a 7.6-magnitude quake struck the western city of Izmit, about 55 miles (90km) southeast of Istanbul. About 500,000 people were made homeless after the disaster.

In 2011 an earthquake struck the eastern city of Van and the town of Ecris, killing at least 523 people.