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A major earthquake registering a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter Scale shook Tunceli Province in eastern Turkey this morning (27 January). The Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory reported that the quake occurred at 7:26 a.m. and was centered in the town of Pulumur, located in mountainous area. A total of 21 mild aftershocks measuring from 3.0 to 3.8 were recorded following the initial 6.5 magnitude quake.
One person has reportedly died after being trapped under rubble in the Saglamtas village in Pulumur, while three people were injured after jumping out of the windows of their houses because of panic during the earthquake. These people were hospitalized and reported to be in good condition.
Access to the area is blocked and officials in the affected area indicated that initial information of the extent of the damage was difficult to received. Pulumur has a population of 2,000, with 1,600 people living in surrounding villages.
Earthquakes and tremors are very common in Turkey's southeast region, where most of the provinces lie on the active North Anatolian fault line. In 1962, Pulumur was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale that killed 97 people and injured 267.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
Immediately after the earthquake the Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) despatched relief items to the region, and the President of the TRCS announced that a TRCS Disaster Operation Center (AFOM) Crisis Committee has been assembled after the quake to respond to the immediate needs. According to initial rough reports, the following items have been sent to the region to meet immediate needs: 10 multi-functional large tents that can shelter 30-40 people, 100 heaters from the TRCS Erzincan and Elazig branch warehouses, 115 family tents, 2,000 blankets and food items had been forwarded to the region.
The TRCS President has also indicated that, according to initial information received from the Elazig and Erzurum branches, 1 light search and rescue team (LSAR), 1 health team (1 doctor, 2 nurses), 1 ambulance and 1 satellite phone for communications have been sent to the region.
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