Earthquake hits eastern Turkey; at least 57 dead

The temblor struck six villages in Elazig province, toppling stone or mud-brick homes and minarets of mosques. Bekir Yanilmaz, the mayor of the nearby town of Kovancilar, provided CNN-Turk television with the death toll. The government's crisis centre put the number at 51.

The worst-hit area was the village of Okcular where some 17 people were reported killed and homes crumbled into piles of dirt. Another 13 people were killed in the village of Yukari Demirci, Gov. Muammer Erol said.

The government's crisis centre said around 100 people were also injured in the quake, which occurred at 4:32 a.m. (0232 GMT) in Elazig province, about 550 kilometres east of Ankara, the capital.

The earthquake, which caught many people in their sleep, was centred near the village of Basyurt. It was followed by more than 30 aftershocks, the strongest measuring 5.5, the Kandilli seismology centre said.

Emergency workers were trying to rescue four people from debris, Gov. Muammer Erol said. CNN-Turk television said the dead included four young sisters trapped in the rubble.
"Everything has been knocked down, there is not a stone in place," said Yadin Apaydin, administrator for the village of Yukari Kanatli, where he said at least three villagers died

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