Rescuers comb nine buildings for survivors in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city by population, while search continues in eight others.

Rescue operations take place after an earthquake struck the Aegean Sea, in Bayrakli district of Turkey's coastal province of Izmir, on November 2, 2020.
Rescue operations take place after an earthquake struck the Aegean Sea, in Bayrakli district of Turkey's coastal province of Izmir, on November 2, 2020. (AA)

At least 85 people have been killed after a magnitude-6.6 earthquake jolted Izmir, as search and rescue activities in the Aegean province entered their fourth day.

The earthquake on Friday caused several buildings to collapse and flooding due to surges along coast areas. 

Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (or AFAD) said on Monday morning that 743 out of 962 injured people had been discharged from hospitals and 220 people are still under treatment.

Earlier on Sunday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he was "determined to heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters in Izmir before the cold and rains begin."

Erdogan said that Turkey stands by the "citizens affected by the earthquake."

"We took action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers," Erdogan added.

Hundreds of aftershocks 

While visiting the areas, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said the possibility of rescuing victims from debris after an earthquake in Izmir is very high after the first 72 hours.

"We have met with families, all of them are quite resilient. We expect to receive good news and rescue people," said Oktay.

The country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said on Monday morning so far, there have been 1,044 aftershocks with 43 stronger than magnitude-4.0.

At least 1,864 tents have been installed, with the set up of 2,038 under way.

Temporary accommodation has been established to meet the urgent need for shelter in the city of Izmir, with 3,545 tents, 57 general purpose tents, 24,382 blankets, 13,280 beds, 5,500 sleeping sets, 2,657 kitchen sets and four showers and toilet containers shipped to the zone, AFAD noted.

Turkey's Minister of Environment and Urbanization Murat Kurum said on Monday that damage assessment studies had been conducted in 4,424 buildings including 33,434 independent apartments.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stressed that there has been no precedence for the current situation – an earthquake disaster during times of a pandemic.

"We should not succumb to the pandemic while fighting an earthquake disaster," Koca noted, urging everyone to continue taking measures against Covid-19.

Search and rescue operations have been completed in nine buildings in Izmir – Turkey’s third-largest city by population – while work continues in eight others, said Kurum, adding damage assessment continues.

AFAD said one of the fatalities came as a result of drowning.

READ MORE: In pictures: Earthquake hits heart of Turkey’s Izmir, Greece's Samos

107 people rescued

AFAD said the quake struck on Friday at 1151 GMT (2:51 pm local time) at a depth of 16.54 km (around 10 miles).

Local media showed wreckage of a multiple-story building in central Izmir, with people climbing it to reach rescuers. Plumes of dust were filmed in several spots in central Izmir.

A total of 107 people have been rescued from the debris so far. During search and rescue operations a three-year-old girl was rescued 65 hours after quake.

Her mother, three siblings were also pulled from debris earlier on Saturday 23 hours after Friday’s earthquake.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the quake was also felt in the metropolis, but no "damage" was reported.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said several provinces in the region, including Usak, Denizli, Manisa, Balikesir, Aydin, and Mugla, sustained minor damages to some buildings.

Emergency aid

Erdogan also said that a grant-in-aid of over $2.87 million (24 million Turkish liras) has been sent so far to the quake-hit area and more will be provided based on need.

He said that 35 mobile base stations have been shipped to the region, with 25 already installed, adding that after all debris is removed, construction work will start to build houses for those whose homes collapsed.

Erdogan said the National Education Ministry would make a decision whether or not to extend the suspension of education in the area.

Dorms would be available for those affected by the quake if they were willing to stay, Erdogan added, noting that following the disaster, 88 countries have conveyed their messages of solidarity and wishes of fast recovery

The Defence Ministry has established a crisis desk in the wake of the earthquake and two military helicopters are taking part in search and rescue efforts.

Adil Karaismailoglu, the Turkish Transportation and Infrastructure Minister said that there were no problems in transportation and communication following the tremor.

More than 680 vehicles and nearly 5,000 rescue workers, along with 20 sniffer dogs, were dispatched to the scene.

The Coast Guard Command is participating with 116 personnel, 11 boats, three helicopters, and one diving team.

The Turkish Red Crescent sent 112 staffers, 137 volunteers, 27 vehicles, and five mobile field kitchens with a capacity to serve more than 25,000 people.

Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, said a capacity to feed 56,300 people was created in Izmir.

Also, 960 disaster tents, 4,500 blankets, 3,672 beds were sent to the region, according to AFAD.

READ MORE: Major earthquakes to hit Turkey in recent decades

Greek island of Samos

The National Observatory of Athens, Institute of Geodynamics initially put the magnitude of the quake at 6.6 but later revised it to 6.7. 

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had an epicentre 13 km northeast of the Greek island of Samos.

Greece hit by quake 

The quake was felt across the eastern Greek islands and even in the Greek capital Athens. 

Greek media said the residents of Samos and other islands fled their homes, while some rockfalls were reported. 

Two children have reportedly died.

Residents of Samos, an island with a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas, Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece's organisation for anti-seismic planning, told Greece's Skai TV.

"It was a very big earthquake, it's difficult to have a bigger one," said Lekkas.

Both countries reported aftershocks.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Erdogan, offering condolences after a strong earthquake felt in both countries killed civilians in the Turkish city of Izmir. 

"Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together," Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.

Erdogan offered the leader any help that Greece might need.

Tensions are running high between the two neighbours over rights over areas of the eastern Mediterranean thought to be rich in natural resources.

READ MORE: Turkey favours fair, permanent, sustainable solution on Cyprus: Erdogan

READ MORE: Turkey, Greece cancel drills in Eastern Mediterranean – NATO

Source: TRTWorld and agencies