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Deadly Quake Shakes Central Turkey

February 3, 2002

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ A powerful earthquake shook central Turkey Sunday, toppling buildings and killing at least 17 people, authorities said.

The quake collapsed 15 buildings in the town of Bolvadin, the epicenter, and several brick houses in five nearby villages, state television TRT reported.

Rescue workers were trying to pull eight people out from under a collapsed house in Sultandagi, said Hayrettin Barut, mayor of the provincial capital of Afyon. Ten houses reportedly collapsed in Sultandagi.

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6, which can cause severe damage. It cut telephone lines in the province of Afyon and authorities were assessing the damage in remote villages.

Soldiers were setting up tent cities to house the homeless in Bolvadin, private NTV television reported. Many people fled the area.

Public Works Minister Abdulkadir Akcan said the government was sending 3,000 blankets and 1,000 tents to the region.

``In Afyon, there is a large number of slightly damaged buildings,″ Akcan said. ``Because today is Sunday and shops are closed, a huge disaster was prevented.″

In the neighboring province of Konya, one person died of a heart attack and seven people were injured after jumping out of windows and off balconies, state television said.

The quake was felt in the central provinces and as far as 300 miles away.

Ahmet Mete Isikara, head of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory, said eight aftershocks followed the temblor that struck shortly after 9 a.m. The strongest aftershock had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6 can cause severe damage.

Most of Turkey lies on the North Anatolian fault and the country frequently is jolted by quakes. Ruptures in the fault caused two massive quakes in western Turkey in 1999, killing about 18,000 people.

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