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Earthquake death toll continues to rise in Turkey

Some 200 people were confirmed dead following a major 7.2 magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey’s Van region yesterday, as officials feared the death toll would rise again due to more bodies being found in the rubble.

Sunday’s powerful earthquake caused 970 buildings to collapse, according to the Turkish prime minister’s Disaster and Emergency Management office. The epicentre was less than 20km from the 360,000 population city of Van. Turkish earthquake research body the Kandilli Observatory estimated the death toll would rise to 1,000.

According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), the earthquake struck about 1.40pm local time between the Arabian and Eurasian plates.

The city of Van sustained severe damage, but reports indicated that the nearby city of Ecris was one of the hardest hit, with many of its buildings now collapsed. Rescue efforts were focussing on freeing people trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Reverse fault earthquake

BGS head of seismic hazard and archives Roger Musson said yesterday’s quake was a “reverse fault” type.

This is where the hanging wall moves up relative to the foot wall, and causes greater ground movements than a traditional earthquake.

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