Turkey Earthquake: Hundreds Dead as Rescue Workers Dig Out Survivors

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Hundreds of rescue workers worked through the night attempting to dig out survivors after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey, leveling dozens of buildings and killing hundreds.
Aftershocks with magnitudes of up to 6.0 were felt within 10 hours of when the quake hit Sunday afternoon. Turkey's interior minister Idris Naim Sahin said Monday that the death toll had risen to 270, but an estimated 1,000 people could have been killed based on the size of the quake, according to The Associated Press.
Sahin said that 80 multi-story buildings collapsed in the town of Ercis, with people trapped in 40 of them.
"Rescue work is ongoing, especially at buildings where [rescuers] have determined survivors," Sahin said.
The temblor's epicenter was in the village of Tabanli, near the city of Van close to the Iranian border, the AP reported.
Related: Major quakes of 2011
With a population of 75,000, Ercis was the hardest hit by the quake; about 55 miles south, Van sustained major damage. Turkey is highly susceptible to earthquakes as it sits on major geological fault lines.
The quake, which hit at 1:41 p.m. local time, was upgraded from a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 to 7.3 magnitude. The U.S. Geological Survey later revised the magnitude to 7.2.
The depth of the epicenter was considered shallow -- 12.4 miles, shallower than the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010 -- and more potentially destructive, combined with the poor building codes in the region.
According to the Hakki Erskoy with the Turkish Red Crescent, there were at least 120 aftershocks on Sunday. Erskoy said that the high number aftershocks isn't affecting the search and rescue efforts, as most of the families have moved from their homes and settled in tents.
Residents spent the night outdoors and lit campfires, while others sought shelter with relatives in nearby villages.
 
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