A powerful earthquake has struck off Turkey’s Aegean coast and north of the Greek island of Samos, destroying homes and killing at least 22 people.
The 7.0 magnitude tremor was centred off Turkey’s Izmir province, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. Turkey put the magnitude lower, at 6.6, saying 20 people had died and 786 were injured in the province of Izmir. On Samos, two teenagers were killed.
The shallow tremor triggered a mini-tsunami that flooded Izmir and Samos. The authorities in Izmir, the provincial capital, are now setting up a tent area to house about 2,000 people overnight, amid fears that more buildings could collapse.
The authorities said that 70 people had been rescued from under the rubble. Rescuers continued to dig through concrete blocks after darkness fell, hoping to find more survivors.
The USGS said the quake – which was felt as far away as Athens and Istanbul – struck at a depth of 10km (six miles), although Turkish officials said it was 16km below ground. Turkey and Greece both sit on fault lines and earthquakes are common.
In Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city with the population of nearly three million, many people were seen running out into the streets in panic and fear after the quake struck. At least 20 buildings collapsed.
Videos have been posted on social media appearing to show the moment one multi-storey building went down, the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Istanbul reports. Other footage shows local people scrambling over rubble looking for survivors.
There were reports of flooding in the city after the sea level rose, and some fishermen are said to be missing.
“It was a really strong shaker almost enough to knock you off your feet. Running out of the house with my children was like a drunken wobble,” Chris Bedford, a retired British teacher who lives in Urla, west of Izmir, told the BBC.
One of the 20 confirmed victims drowned, the Turkish emergencies agency said.
Yasar Keles, an official in Sigacik, near Izmir, told BBC Turkish that a person died after their wheelchair was hit and overturned by the rising water.
Officials later said that 70 people had been rescued from under the rubble.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the government would help those affected by the quake “with all the means available to our state”.
In Greece, two teenagers were killed when a wall collapsed on Samos. Eight people were injured across the island.
A mini-tsunami flooded the port of Samos and a number of buildings were damaged. Greek officials put the magnitude of the tremor at 6.7.
“We felt it very strongly,” local journalist Manos Stefanakis told the BBC, adding that smaller aftershocks were continuing.
He said it was the biggest tremor to have hit the island since 1904.
Fareid Atta, another Samos-based journalist, told the BBC that the damage was “quite extensive along the seafront” of the island’s main town.
“Many businesses will be going under after this,” he said.
Residents were urged to stay outdoors and keep away from coastal areas. About 45,000 people live on Samos.