A powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday afternoon, sending massive shocks through a nearby Greek island, as well as western Turkey, where at least 14 people have died, Reuters reports.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the death toll on Twitter, as people in and around the Turkish city of Izmir abandoned their buildings, many of which are now crumbling. The search for survivors in the rubble has already begun. At least 250 people have been injured and Izmir’s mayor reports that at least 20 buildings were destroyed, CNN reports.
Images from the scene show a crushed car under a collapsed building and people searching through the rubble for survivors. Meanwhile, TV footage showed what authorities are calling the result of a “mini tsunami.” Water has flooded the streets in Izmir province, as well as the Greek island of Samos. No official tsunami warnings appeared to have been issued.
According to CNN, Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Köşger called for residents to stay off the roads, so that ambulances and other emergency vehicles can reach the impacted areas. In Greece, the damage seems to be less severe.
On the island of Samos, Deputy Mayor Giorgos Dionisiou said that some old buildings had collapsed, but there have been no reports of people trapped under rubble. Nikos Stefanis, the chief of Samos Hospital, said there had been four minor injuries reported so far.
Greek authorities have warned people to be on alert for high waves and to stay away from the shore, as well as buildings.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the tremor’s magnitude at 7.0, while Turkish authorities said it was 6.6, CNN reports. The quake struck 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of the town of Néon Karlovásion on Samos at 1:51 p.m. Greek time (7:51a.m. ET), according to the USGS. Authorities in both Greece and Turkey have reported dozens of aftershocks.
Shortly after the quake, David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, tweeted, “My thoughts are with all the Greek and Turkish people affected by the strong earthquake that hit the Aegean Sea.”
“Together with the other EU institutions, we are following the situation closely. The EU stands ready to help.”