The death toll has passed an hour after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on the Turkish coast and on the Greek island of Samos. At least 19 people died and hundreds were injured after an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 earlier Friday, causing a tsunami that shook the city and flooded the streets of western Turkey.
Reuters reported that the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency had killed 17 and wounded 709. Two teenagers, a boy and a girl, died in Samos.
It is not yet clear how many people have been trampled in their home in Turkey, notorious for its poor quality architecture. Rescuers search the debris in search of survivors and corpses.
High school principal Duygu Kati told CBS News to evacuate all students safely. She said the building was almost collapsed.
According to Reuters, Turkey is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world because it sits on several major fault lines. Over 17,000 people have been killed in earthquakes across the country in recent decades.
Greek seismologist Akis Tselentis told state broadcasters that the shallow depth of the earthquake epicenter increases the risk of an aftershock powerful enough to collapse the building, the Associated Press reported.
Turkey and Greece are now fighting for exploration rights in the Mediterranean, Reuters reported. However, the two leaders tweeted about the need for solidarity in a crisis situation.
Greek Prime Minister Kiria Kos Mito Takis said, “Whatever our differences are, now is the time for our people to unite. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, “It is worth more than much for life to show solidarity between two neighbors in difficult times.”
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