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Turkey Quake Kills 17, Hurts Many

November 12, 1999

DUZCE, Turkey (AP) _ Another strong earthquake struck western Turkey on Friday, leveling buildings, killing at least 17 people and wounding hundreds more. Doctors treated many of the injured in the darkness of a hospital garden, fearing the building would collapse.

The magnitude-7.2 quake struck just after nightfall and was centered on the town of Duzce, 115 miles east of Istanbul, said Ahmet Mete Isikara, head of Istanbul’s Kandilli Observatory. It hit the same region as a massive temblor that devastated western Turkey in August, but not the worst-hit areas.

The Aug. 17 quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and killed more than 17,000 people in Turkey’s industrial heartland.

``We are face-to-face with a new disaster,″ said President Suleyman Demirel on Friday.

Seventeen people were killed, the Anatolia news agency quoted Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit as saying. The death toll was expected to rise. Private NTV television quoted doctors saying that at least 1,000 people were injured.

The quake plunged most of the region into darkness, complicating resuce efforts.

``There is tremendous destruction,″ Ecevit said. ``It is thought that there are people alive under the rubble.″

Turkish television showed people tearing away at mounds of rubble as they frantically tried to uncover relatives buried beneath collapsed buildings. In the town of Bolu, women stood at the foot of a pile of rubble weeping.

In Duzce, 500 people were rushed to the local hospital, where doctors worked in the garden after the building was evacuated due to quake damage. Sadettin Cakmakoglu, a doctor, said the hospital urgently needed painkillers and medicine.

``I am calling out SOS for Duzce,″ Anatolia quoted him as saying.

One television station broadcast appeals for blood donations.

In Duzce, collapsed buildings and overturned trucks lined the road into the town. Firefighters battled flames shooting out of several buildings.

In nearby Bolu, the earthquake set off explosions in buildings, which triggered fires, said the town’s police chief, Ugur Gur. He said the road to Istanbul was torn apart and called for urgent medical aid from the capital, Ankara, 160 miles to the east.

In Adapazari, which was virtually leveled by the August quake, terrified residents leapt from their shaking buildings, said Cahit Kirac, the town governor. He said there were reports of injuries, but had no details.

Parts of Adapazari, which is 40 miles from Duzce, had been plunged into into darkness Thursday when a 5.7-magnitude aftershock from the August quake knocked out phone and power lines. Two people were killed and 171 were injured. Most of the casualties were in Adapazari.

Friday’s quake, which struck at 6:57 p.m., was followed by at least five aftershocks with magnitudes greater than 5, Isikara said.

Buildings in Istanbul and Ankara shook as though they were made of rubber. In Istanbul, hundreds of people flooded onto the streets fearing aftershocks. As a chilly night settled, many gathered around camp fires.

The temblors come as Turkey is preparing to host delegations from 54 countries for a Nov. 18-19 summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. President Clinton is expected to arrive in Turkey on Sunday. His schedule includes a planned visit to Izmit, one of the areas hardest hit in the August quake, to survey the damage.

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