AN earthquake killed five people in eastern Turkey last night — less than three weeks after a tremor there killed 600 people.
The country's TRT Haber news channel said a large number of people were trapped under buildings and rescue workers could be seen searching through the rubble after the 5.6-magnitude quake struck at 7:23pm.
TV footage showed residents and rescuers trying to lift debris to evacuate people believed to be trapped under a collapsed hotel in the provincial capital of Van. "Twenty people were found alive and five were dead," Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was quoted as saying in televised remarks.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said from the scene that the quake collapsed 25 buildings, 22 of which were empty.
He said: "Search and rescue operations are continuing in three buildings." Nine planes carrying almost 300 rescuers were dispatched to the quake region.
About 1,400 aftershocks have rocked the region since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit on October 23. Many residents had been living in tents despite the cold, too afraid to return to their homes.
Experts said last night's quake would not normally have caused casualties, but buildings which were damaged in the previous tremor were not entirely emptied. Turkey is earthquake-prone due to being crossed by several fault lines.
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