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23 people injured in magnitude 5.3 earthquake in eastern Turkey

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A 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey on Thursday evening, injuring 23 people in two provinces while causing an abandoned building to collapse and two previously damaged buildings to topple over, local media reported, citing the interior and health ministers.

The epicenter of the tremor that occurred at 8.48 p.m. local time was the Yeşilyurt district of Malatya province, which was hit by two devastating earthquakes in February that killed more than 50,000 people and left millions homeless in more than a dozen cities in the country’s south and southeast.

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said the 5.3 magnitude earthquake occurred at a depth of seven kilometers, while the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute stated that the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.2 and its depth was five kilometers.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya late on Thursday announced in a tweet that two buildings heavily damaged in the Feb. 6 earthquakes and one abandoned building have collapsed, adding that are no reported deaths.

Many people reportedly poured into the streets following the earthquake, which also affected Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman, Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep provinces.

According to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, 23 people were injured as a result of falls or jumping from heights, with 22 in Malatya and one in Adıyaman.

“Medical treatment is ongoing. I would like to extend my get-well wishes to our people once again,” the minister added.

The Demirören news agency (DHA) reported that a team of 30 people consisting of members of AFAD’s Tunceli provincial directorate and the Munzur Nature Sports and Search-Rescue Association (MUDAK) is heading towards the earthquake-affected area.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a bold pledge while campaigning for the presidential election in May to rebuild the entire zone affected by the February earthquakes — originally home to more than 13 million people — by the start of next year. He was re-elected president in a runoff election on May 28 and surprisingly did not experience a loss of votes in the quake region despite the fact that he and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government were harshly criticized due to ineffective search and rescue operations and for allowing construction in the region that failed to meet building regulations.

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