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Seven Killed in Turkey Earthquake

September 14, 1999

GOLCUK, Turkey (AP) _ The scenes have become all too familiar in western Turkey: twisted steel and concrete that were once homes, rescuers toiling day and night amid the stench of death, the pain of those who have lost loved ones.

Another aftershock rocked Turkey on Monday _ the strongest since the Aug. 17 earthquake that killed more than 15,000 people _ plunging the country again into the nightmare from which it has barely recovered.

At least seven people were killed and 420 injured, many suffering broken bones when they jumped out of windows.

Rescuers early today said they heard voices overnight at one site in Golcuk, but later they stopped searching, saying there was no one to find.

At another site, where an already damaged building slid into the sea during Monday’s tremor, the search for possible survivors has been replaced by the search for the dead.

Divers were searching the remains of the building under water to retrieve the bodies of four people. They reportedly had gone into the building to salvage belongings when the temblor hit.

``Life goes on despite everything,″ said Handan Akcay, who has been living in a tent city since the earlier earthquake destroyed her home. ``But unfortunately, we don’t get use to this.″

Monday’s aftershock had a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 and was centered on Izmit, 50 miles southeast of Istanbul, the city’s Kandilli Observatory reported.

Thousands of people in the area had already lost their homes in the August quake, one factor that may have limited casualties during Monday’s aftershock.

``We don’t sleep. Our children don’t sleep,″ said Aydogan Tekan, who lives beneath a sheet of waterproof plastic with his wife, Fatma, and five other relatives.

The misery and fear is felt throughout the quake zone.

In nearby Yalova, 11-year-old Betul Varilci stood outside of her schoolhouse on the day she returned to school.

``I’m afraid to go inside the building,″ she said. ``There could be another quake.″

Her fears were justified. Hours later, the latest aftershock struck the area, collapsing buildings already weakened in the earlier quake.

Parents rushed to schoolhouses following the aftershock and grabbed their children in tears, hugging and kissing them. Teachers earlier agreed to meet with students in the playgrounds and not in buildings, which many children are afraid to enter.

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