38 dead in Turkey as quake rescue efforts continue

The death toll from a magnitude-6.8 earthquake in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig rose to 38 on Sunday, Turkish catastrophe agency Afad said as rescuers were still searching for survivors.

A total of 45 people have been rescued since the quake struck on Friday evening, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said.

According to the CNN Turk broadcaster, at least two people were still missing, with hopes fading that they would be found alive.

More than 1,600 people were injured, according to official figures.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday that more than 100 people were still being treated in hospital, 13 of them in intensive care.

Rescue services were still looking for survivors on Sunday in temperatures below freezing in the mountainous region.

A total of 700 aftershocks have been registered since the main earthquake, according to Afad.

The epicentre of the quake was in the district of Sivrice. As well as Elazig, people also died in the neighbouring province of Malatya.

Many residents in Elazig, with a population of nearly 600,000, refused to go back into their houses on Saturday night for fear of aftershocks and instead slept in temporary housing.

About 5,000 tents had been set up and around 15,000 people were being housed in sporting facilities, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised on Sunday to repair and rebuild damaged and destroyed buildings quickly.

A total of 645 buildings were seriously damaged and 76 had completely collapsed.

Turkey has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past, including one near Istanbul in 1999 which killed more than 17,000 people in the greater region.

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