The number of dead in the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey on Friday evening has risen to 29, and there are still many missing. About 1,200 people were injured.
The earthquake, with epicentre in the city of Service, in the province of Elazig, caused the collapse of several buildings and forced the inhabitants to leave their homes, both in the area of Elazig and in the region of Malatya. It happened at 8.55 p.m. on Friday (6.55 p.m. in Italy) and was also felt in Syria, Lebanon and Iran.
About 2000 rescuers were sent to the region, several thousand people who had to leave their homes were welcomed in gyms and schools in the area.
The rescue teams on the first night of work managed to pull 39 people out of the rubble, digging with mechanical diggers and then by hand. There are at least 22 people still trapped under the collapsed buildings, and temperatures in the night reach 8 degrees below zero.
The region affected by the earthquake is about 550 km from Ankara: it is remote and sparsely populated so that information about the dead, the injured and the damage might emerge slowly.