At least 27 people have died and nearly a thousand have been injured by damage from an earthquake that struck just off the Greek island of Samos, in the vicinity of the third-largest Turkish city of Izmir on Friday afternoon and impacted the entire region.
Agencies in the area recorded a magnitude of 6.6 to 6.9 for the initial quake, and hundreds of aftershocks were reported thereafter.
Thousands of aid workers respond
At least 20 buildings in Izmir collapsed from the quake, and rescue teams combed through the rubble looking for survivors.
A small tsunami hit the Seferihisar district of the Turkish Izmir province following the quake and also caused flooding in parts of Samos. Boats were swept away from the port in Seferihisar in advance of the tsunami.
Twenty-five of the people who died were from Turkey, and two teens from Greece died when a wall collapsed on them.
Authorities warned people in the area not to return to their homes out of concern that the residences could collapse under the impact of strong aftershocks. Many stayed out in the streets all night because they were afraid to go into their homes.
At least 3,000 aid workers, many from the Red Crescent, streamed to the area to give aid. Kitchens were set up to feed those who were stuck away from their homes.
“Our people need to stand together”
The New York Post reported that 70 survivors have been pulled from the rubble so far.
Greece and Turkey have been engaged in tense relations lately. In a show of solidarity, however, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday afternoon to offer condolences for those lost in the earthquake.
“Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together,” Mitsotakis tweeted.
Erdoğan tweeted in response: “Turkey, too, is always ready to help Greece heal its wounds. That two neighbors show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life.”
Other European leaders also chimed in with their offers of help and support for the two impacted nations, including French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanian, who tweeted: “France stands alongside the Turkish and Greek people to -face this terrible ordeal.”