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Turkey quake death toll rises to 31

Update: January, 26/2020 - 15:13
Rescuers work on the site after an earthquake in the province of Elazig, Turkey, Jan. 25, 2020. The earthquake occurred at 8:55 p.m. local time (1755 GMT) in the province of Elazig at a depth of 6.75km and was followed by 228 aftershocks, according to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority. — XINHUA/VNA Photo

ELAZIG — The death toll from a powerful earthquake which struck eastern Turkey rose to 31, officials said on Sunday, as rescue efforts continued.

The magnitude 6.8 quake hit on Friday evening, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province but also affected neighbouring cities and countries.

The Turkish government's disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said 31 people died, the majority in Elazig but at least four in nearby Malatya, and 1,607 were injured.

Rescuers scrambled all of Saturday and searched Sunday to rescue people alive from under the rubble. The latest number of individuals rescued was 45, according to AFAD.

Nearly 80 buildings collapsed while 645 were heavily damaged in Elazig and Malatya, the agency said in a statement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised on Saturday that Turkey's housing agency TOKI would "do whatever is necessary and make sure no one is left without a home".

He attended the funeral of a woman and her son in Elazig Saturday, later visiting Malatya after cancelling a speech in Istanbul. — AFP

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