The Turkish government said an earthquake hit Sivrice in the morning. People rushed out and many of them saw their houses crumble in front of their eyes. The US Geological Survey indicated the source to have been at a depth of about six miles. So far, there are reports of at least 20 death, which could undergo change as rescue teams continue to search for survivors. Some reports on Twitter show a loss of more lives.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu is believed to have told a section of the media, "We are hoping we will not have more casualties." Turkey sits on major fault lines and faces earthquakes frequently.

The authorities said the latest incident witnessed 30 aftershocks and more than 400 rescue teams were at work in the affected areas.

The Telegraph UK describes the town of Sivrice. It has a population of about 4,000 and is south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake. This happens to be a popular Travel destination and a tourist hot-spot since it is the source of the Tigris River. The Hazar Lake is home to a "Sunken City" and in the opinion of archeologists, its age is more than 4,000 years.

Earthquake tremors felt near Iraqi and Syrian borders

Turkey felt tremors in the eastern parts near the borders with Iraq and Syria. Rescue teams have moved to quake-hit areas where buildings have collapsed. As a humanitarian act, major telecom companies announced free internet services for those residing in regions affected by the quake.

They have also indicated free telephone calls. Any earthquake and lead to the loss of lives and properties as was seen in California.

The Telegraph UK quotes the USGS as saying that the quake struck near a fault that has no record of any major activity after 1875. Hence, this came as a surprise. Incidentally, there have been quakes in Turkey in the past.

In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Izmit. It was in the western parts and the toll was in excess of 17,000. It did not spare the largest city of Istanbul. In September last year, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul and residents fled from the economic capital. Experts have cautioned that a high magnitude quake could wreak havoc on the city of 15 million people. In their opinion, this would be a result of granting permission for construction of buildings without following safety precautions.

This earthquake was a 'level 3' incident

According to Sky News, Turkey’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu categorized the earthquake as a "level 3" incident. This would mean the emergency response plan would welcome national help but not at the international level.

It seems 30 buildings had collapsed and many people remain buried beneath the rubble. The authorities are making efforts to rescue them. More than 500 people are injured, some of them seriously. Emergency workers made use of a wide range of equipment to clear the debris. There were provisions to accommodate quake-affected residents in alternate locations to save them from freezing conditions and provide them with warm clothing to ward off the chill.

Earthquakes are unpredictable

Earthquakes fall in the category of a natural disaster and it is not possible to predict when and where they strike. The source of seismic activities are not visible and the activities happen below ground level. What is visible is the aftermath of destruction it unleashes which could be due to natural movement of the plates of fault lines or from mining blasts, or even from nuclear tests.

In the case of a combination of an earthquake and a storm, the miseries of people multiply. Puerto Rico has faced many earthquakes and lost an iconic landmark to one of these.

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