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Quake Rocks Western Turkey

November 11, 1999

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ A strong aftershock today shook a region of western Turkey still struggling to recover from an earthquake that left some 17,000 people dead. At least one person was killed and 157 injured.

The magnitude-5.7 aftershock struck the town of Adapazari at 4:41 p.m. An elderly man died of a heart attack and 142 people in the town were injured, municipal officials said.

Thirteen people were injured in nearby Izmit while another two people were injured in the nearby port town of Golcuk, said Izmit Gov. Kemal Onal.

``I was so frightened, my heart pounded like it would pop out,″ said Serpil Unal, whose husband was killed in the August earthquake.

``We shook like mad. Everybody ran out in fear,″ Unal said by telephone from Golcuk.

Many of the people rushed to hospitals were suffering from broken bones or shock, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Throughout the quake area, people were seen rushing frantically through the streets searching for relatives.

The aftershock knocked out phone and power lines in the region, plunging parts of Adapazari into darkness.

The Aug. 17 earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.4, flattened tens of thousands of buildings in the area, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Many of those families are still living in tent cities that dot the region.

The temblor was the strongest since a 5.8-magnitude aftershock rocked the town of Golcuk on Sept. 13, said Ahmet Mete Isikara, head of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory.

``These aftershocks will continue,″ Isikara told private NTV television. ``We have to accept these calmly. We have to continue our regular life.″

Today’s aftershock was strong enough to shake buildings in Istanbul, almost 100 miles to the west.

People in that city, Turkey’s largest, kept working despite the danger.

``We have to try to live normally,″ said Ismail Bascakir, who works in a clothing shop on the ground floor of a five-story building in central Istanbul. ``Of course, it does make you uneasy.″

Thousands of aftershocks have hit western Turkey since the Aug. 17 earthquake.

Update hourly