At least 12 people died and 419 were injured in Turkey’s western province of Izmir in a magnitude 6.6 earthquake that struck between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos on Friday.
The tremor could be felt as far away as Istanbul and the Greek islands, where officials said some of the buildings and roads were damaged, with eight people suffering light injuries on the island of Samos.
According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the epicenter of the earthquake was some 17 kilometers (11 miles) off the coast of İzmir, at a depth of 16 kilometers.
Witnesses said people flooded into the streets in İzmir after the quake struck. At least 20 multi-story buildings had collapsed, with smoke rising into the sky, in several areas, according to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) İzmir deputy Atilla Kaya.
Images posted on social media in the aftermath of the earthquake showed water rushing through the streets of Izmir from an apparent sea surge.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also said other western Turkish provinces, including Uşak, Denizli, Manisa, Balıkesir, Aydın and Muğla, saw only slight damage to several buildings with no casualties reported.
Turkey is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In August 1999 a 7.6 magnitude quake struck İzmit, southeast of Istanbul, claiming the lives of more than 17,000 people including hundreds in İstanbul. Since then, experts have warned that a major earthquake is expected to hit İstanbul.