An earthquake that occurred on Friday in the Aegean Sea has destroyed many buildings in the Western province of Izmir, Turkey, leaving at least six residents dead and several others injured. The earthquake, according to reports given by the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency in Turkey occurred in the center of the Aegean Sea at 16.5 kilometers (10.3 miles) and had a magnitude of 6.6 on the Ritcher scale, USA Today reports.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre stated that the earthquake had an initial magnitude of 6.9 and an epicenter of about 13 kilometers (8 miles) northeast Samos, a Greek Island along the Aegean Coast. The United States Geological Survey reports that the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0. Media outlets in Turkey have shown video footage and pictures showing the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake. One of the pictures shows what is left of a story building in central Izmir with people trying to save residents who were trapped.
Tunc Soyer, the mayor of Izmir told reporters that about 20 buildings were totally destroyed in the earthquake. Izmir is the third biggest city in Turkey with a population of about 4.5 million people. The interior minister in Turkey tweeted that buildings were destroyed in Izmir as well as six other provinces during the earthquake. Reports state that the earthquake was felt in regions in Marmara and Istanbul. Istanbul has however recorded no damage according to officials.
Authorities in Greece have also stated that the earthquake was felt in the Eastern Greek Islands and Athens, the capital city of Greece. Though there were no reports of injuries, Greek authorities report that inhabitants of Samos and other Islands ran from their homes and there were some rockfalls. The Aegean earthquake was also felt in Bulgaria, another neighboring country.
Efthymios Lekkas, a seismologist in Greece told reporters that it is still unknown whether this was the main earthquake, though all pointers suggest that it was. Lekkas said that more facts need to be gathered about the incident, which according to the seismologist destroyed parts of buildings in Samos.
Inhabitants of Samos have been urged to avoid the coastline following warnings of a possible tsunami. Reports state that many streets in Samos have been flooded with water rising above the dock on the coastline. Yiannis Stamoulis, the regional governor of Samos has confirmed that no injuries have been reported from any inhabitants on the island. Residents in Izmir and Samos have been warned to avoid buildings that were affected by the earthquake as aftershocks are bring reported in the two regions.