Ankara, The death toll from the massive earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale that jolted eastern Turkey has increased to 22, the government said on Saturday.
The quake hit the Elazig province at 8.55 p.m. on Friday night, with its epicentre in Sivrice district, along with neighbouring provinces and countries including Syria and Georgia, reports Anadolu News Agency.
“Four people died in Malatya’s Doganyol (town) and 18 others in Elazig,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told the media.
A total of 39 people were also rescued from the rubble of collapsed houses and buildings, Soylu added.
He said that it was decided to evacuate a prison in Turkey’s eastern Adiyaman province which was damaged as a result of the quake.
Meanwhile,Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that 128 injured people were receiving treatment in hospitals and 34 of them were in intensive care units.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum advised locals not to enter damaged houses as aftershocks continue in the region.
Kurum added that a 368-member team was at the field to assess the damage caused by the quake.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said 118 aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 5.4, were felt following the initial temblor.
The quake was also felt in other provinces including Adana, Osmaniye, Tunceli and Hatay, said Anadolu News Agency.
In addition, northern Syrian regions including Idlib, Azaz, Al-Bab, Jarabulus, Afrin and Tal Abyad also felt the tremors.
This is not the first quake to hit Turkey in 2020.
A 5.4-magnitude quake jolted western province of Manisa on Wednesday, while Ankara was rattled by a 4.5-magnitude temblor on Thursday.
A total of 51 people were killed in 2010 when a 6.0-magnitude quake had hit Elazig province.