Earthquake kills 51 in remote Turkish villages

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The Independent Online

A powerful earthquake struck in a remote part of eastern Turkey yesterday, killing at least 51 people from five villages.

The earthquake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale and hit the area in the early hours of the morning, was centred on the village of Basyurt in Elazig province. Rescuers' attempts to free those trapped under the rubble were hampered by at least 40 aftershocks, some measuring a magnitude of 5.3.

The damage appeared worst in the village of Okcular, where at least 15 of the village's 900 residents were killed, the Elazig governor's office said.

Television images showed women huddled around fires amid the ruins of their one-storey, stone and mud-brick houses. Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, pledged to rebuild the homes using stronger materials.