At least 100 feared dead in powerful Turkey quake
August 17, 1999
From staff and wire reports
ISTANBUL, Turkey -- A powerful earthquake leveled buildings and cut power to much of northwestern Turkey early Tuesday, leaving at least 100 people dead and 500 injured, according to Turkish state media.
The quake's epicenter was near Izmit, a city some 65 miles (104 kilometers) east of Istanbul on the eastern shore of the Sea of Marmara, according to privately owned TGRT radio. At least 80 of the deaths and hundreds of injuries were reported in Izmit.
The Anatolian news agency reported deaths in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, and in the town of Eskisehir, after a seven-story building collapsed.
Two oil refineries reported burning
An oil refinery was reportedly on fire in Izmit, an industrial city of 500,000. Authorities had little information about casualties there.
The northwestern city of Bursa also appeared among the hardest-hit areas. An oil refinery there caught fire and the region's governor reported six people dead.
The earthquake was given a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, which monitors seismic activity worldwide. Turkish radio reported a 6.8-magnitude quake.
An earthquake registering between 7.0 and 7.9 is considered a "major" quake, capable of widespread, heavy damage.
Some 21 buildings in Istanbul reported damaged
Doctors at Istanbul's Kartel hospital said they were treating about 100 people injured by falling rubble. Local radio reported the quake damaged at least 21 buildings, and caused injuries and gas leaks that had erupted into fires across the city of 10 million.
The powerful tremor stuck at 3:02 a.m. (8:02 p.m. EDT Monday), cutting power and communications to much of the area.
CNN freelance reporter Andy Finkel was shaken out of his sleep.
"The house was shaking violently," he said. People in Istanbul have left their buildings and are standing in the street, he said. There was no electricity in his area of the city, on the Asian side of the Bosporus strait.
Much of Turkey sits on an earthquake prone zone known as the Anatolia fault. Izmit also sits on the fault line, said Ali Pinar, an official from Istanbul-based Kandilli observatory.
A 6.3-magnitude quake that struck Turkey on June 27, 1998, killed 144 people and injured over 1,500 in and around the southern city of Adana.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Major earthquake rocks northwestern Turkey
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