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Many Still Trapped After 7.2-Magnitude Quake in Turkey

A 16-year-old earthquake survivor is carried by rescue workers from a collapsed building in the Ercis province of Van, in eastern Turkey, on Monday. Photo by Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images.

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey Sunday killing at least 270 people, injuring more than 1,000 and trapping dozens in debris. Rescuers pulled four people from the rubble after one called for help on his cell phone. Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin estimated that roughly 100 people remained trapped.

The quake struck near the city of Ercis with a population of roughly 75,000, knocking down some 80 buildings, including high-rise apartment complexes, and causing serious damage in hundreds more. Part of a nearby hospital collapsed, and some of the casualties were being treated outdoors. Aftershocks continued throughout the day Sunday and into Monday, some as high as 4.7-magnitude.

More than 2,000 rescue workers, including the military, were assisting in the around-the-clock efforts.

The BBC’s Daniel Sandford described frantic attempts to find remaining survivors:

There is an immense rescue effort going on, diggers, cranes, men climbing over the buildings, digging with their bare hands, trying to find people that they believe may still be alive inside.

The big problem at the moment is the cold night. It is very high here, 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level. It is dropping below 0C (32F) at night, clearly not a place to be sleeping outside under the stars.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the affected area late Sunday. Despite offers of aid from other nations, the country’s Foreign Ministry said the government was equipped to address the disaster, according to CNN.

In 1999 a 7.6-magnitude quake killed more than 17,000 people in Izmit, near Istanbul.

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