A strong earthquake hit Turkey killing at least 20 people

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A 6.7-magnitude quake struck near the town of Sivrice, in eastern Elazig province, Turkey, on Friday evening. About 500,000 people felt strong to very strong shaking.

At least 20 people died and more than 900 were injured. At least 30 buildings collapsed, Turkish Interior Minister Sulyman Soylu said. Several are trapped in the wreckage of toppled building. The health minister, Fahrettin Koca, said two people killed in Elâzığ suffered heart attacks. Search and rescue operations are underway. The earthquake lasted 40 seconds. Fifteen aftershocks have been felt, with the strongest registering at 5.4 magnitude. A fire broke out in a building in Sivrice, near the epicentre, but was quickly brought under control.

Rescue teams from neighboring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help. Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes. Interior, health and environment ministers were sent to the quake-hit area. The US Geological Survey said the quake affected not only Turkey but also Syria, Georgia and Armenia. Turkey sits on top of two major fault lines and earthquakes are frequent.

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