10/24/11 (AEIN) A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, causing significant damage. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the quake measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, with a depth of seven kilometers (4.35 miles). It was centered nineteen kilometers northeast of Van and 116 kilometers north of Hakkari.
The earthquake caused around 45 buildings to collapse in Van province, according to VOA. It killed at least seventy-five people and injured 150 or more. About thirty buildings collapsed in Ercis, the United Nations reported. Emergency personnel worked to rescue people trapped under collapsed buildings.
It was the strongest quake to hit Turkey in more than ten years and the death toll could reach one-thousand, according to the Environment News Service. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed sympathy and praised Turkey's government for quickly responding to the disaster. He offered U.N. assistance.
The affected area is located near Lake Van and Turkey's border with Iran. Strong earthquakes have also hit eastern Turkey in the past. A quake measuring nearly seven on the Richter scale struck the region in late October, 1983 and killed over thirteen-hundred people, according to The World Almanac.