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Strong Turkey Quake Kills 54

June 27, 1998

ADANA, Turkey (AP) _ An earthquake rattled this southern city on Saturday, killing at least 54 people, injuring 100 others and causing thousands to flee their homes in panic, the semiofficial Anatolia news said.

The quake struck late in the afternoon and had a preliminary magnitude of 6.3, Istanbul’s Kandilli observatory said. Tremors were felt in the neighboring provinces of Mersin, Nigde and Kayseri.

At least 30 people were reported in the nearby town of Ceyhan, site of an oil terminal, the Anatolia news agency said.

Twenty-four more were killed in slum areas of Adana, Gov. Ardahan Totuk told private NTV television.

First pictures from the earthquake scene appearing on state television showed badly damaged houses and rescue teams pulling a young girl out of the debris.

Incirlik air base is located on the outskirts of Adana, a city of about 1 million about 300 miles south of Ankara.

The base hosts some 45 U.S. and British jets which patrol a no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in northern Iraq. Some 1,400 personnel are part of the mission.

Phone lines to the base had fallen, but a U.S. Embassy spokesman reported no injuries or damages.

The quake sent thousands of people fleeing their homes in panic, NTV said. Several houses and mosques were damaged by the quake in Adana, it said.

In the neighboring Mediterranean port city of Mersin, about 20 people were treated for shock, Nedim Ince, a doctor at the state hospital, the NTV.

``I felt a tremendous shake,″ said Ince. ``It was something fearful.‴

The quake shattered windows and caused cracks in several buildings in Mersin 42 miles west of Adana, the channel said.

The quake also was felt in several southern provinces and Mediterranean island of Cyprus, off Turkey’s southern coast.

Authorities cut power in Adana and Mersin to prevent fires and advised people to spend the night outside their homes, anticipating aftershocks.

Much of Turkey sits atop the Anatolian fault and quakes are relatively frequent in the country.

Update hourly