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Earthquake Rocks Turkey

On November 22, 2011

At least 600 people have died from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit eastern Turkey on October 23rd. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in 10 years. Almost 2,000 buildings and homes were leveled during the quake, leaving at least 4,100 people injured and thousands more that are now homeless and without jobs. When the earthquake began, thousands fled to the streets screaming and taking out their cell phones to call relatives and loved ones, screaming, and trying to rescue the trapped and injured in the rubble. The hardest hit area was Ercis, an eastern city that has a population of 75,000 that lies close to the Iranian border; it also lies on one of Turkey's most earthquake prone zones. The city of Van, about 55 miles south of Ercis, also sustaied substantial damage, including its airport being so damaged that flights arriving had to be diverted.

            Around 1,275 rescue teams from 38 provinces have been sent to the region to help with the search and rescue efforts as well as to help and keep the peace since several inmates escaped from Van's prison after it collapsed. But Van and Ecris' main goals were to get as many people that were trapped in the rubble out alive. Already some 231 people have been found alive and rescued even as temperatures hit the freezing mark at night. Two teenagers were pulled out of the rubble alive after more than 100 hours after the disaster. This shed some hope for life; even a mother and her child were saved from a collapsed building.

            President Obama recently stated, "We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally in this difficult time, and are ready to assist." Even though rescue teams have stopped their search for the trapped or dead, relief teams still occupy the city helping remove rubble and making sure that people are healthy and have the means to food as well as fresh water. Since the earthquake has been grouped in the same category as the quakes in Haiti, Japan, Chile and Taiwan, it will take months if not years for the country to stabilize itself again.

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