Magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits eastern Turkey: 1 killed, 69 injured

Three weeks after two major earthquakes caused widespread destruction in Turkey's southeastern region, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 hit Malatya, killing one person and injuring 69 others.

Duvar English - Reuters

An earthquake at a magnitude of 5.6 hit Turkey's southeastern province of Malatya on Feb. 27, killing one person, injuring 69 and causing 29 buildings to collapse, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said, triggering frantic work to rescue several people believed trapped in rubble.

The latest aftershock, with depth of 6.15 km, hit Malatya's Yeşilyurt district three weeks after two massive quakes that killed and displaced thousands of people in the region. 

A rescue team carried out one man alive, strapped to a stretcher, from the rubble of a building in Malatya, live footage on broadcaster CNN Türk showed.

A while later, it showed a woman, said to be the man's daughter, rescued from the same building.

AFAD head Yunus Sezer told a news conference that search and rescue teams had been deployed to five buildings.

There have been four fresh earthquakes in the region in the past three weeks, as well as 45 aftershocks with magnitudes between five and six, said AFAD's general director of earthquake and risk reduction Orhan Tatar.

"This is very extraordinary activity," Tatar said.

The earthquakes have struck months ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled to be held by June, which present the biggest political challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his two-decade rule.

A delegation from Turkey's High Election Board (YSK) was scheduled to visit the quake zone on Feb. 27 to start gathering material for a report on the feasibility of holding elections in the region.

Turkey has arrested 184 people suspected of complicity in the collapse of buildings in this month's earthquakes and investigations are widening.

On Feb. 26, AFAD announced that the death toll in the devastating quake three weeks ago had risen to 44,374.

The overall number of deaths in Turkey and neighbouring Syria exceeds 50,000.

More than 160,000 buildings containing 520,000 apartments collapsed or were severely damaged in Turkey by the disaster, the worst in the country's modern history.

The quakes are expected to have a deep psychological impact, with children particularly vulnerable.

After the latest tremor, AFAD issued a fresh warning on Twitter telling people not to enter or even stand near damaged buildings in the earthquake zone.