The death toll has risen after a strong earthquake off the coast of Turkey and the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea. A magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the region early Friday, killing at least 19 people and injuring hundreds more.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said 17 people had been killed and 709 injured. Two teenagers, a boy and a girl were killed in Samos.
It is not yet clear how many of their own homes in Turkey, notorious for substandard construction, have collapsed. Survivors search through the wreckage for survivors and bodies.
Doug Katie, a high school principal, told CBS News that all of his students had been safely evacuated. The building almost collapsed.
According to Reuters, Turkey is one of the most seismically active countries in the world. More than 17,000 people have died as a result of earthquakes in the country in recent decades.
Greek seismologist Aquis Selentis told a state broadcaster that the epicenter of the quake had a shallow depth and could cause strong earthquakes to destroy buildings, the Associated Press reported.
Reuters reports that Turkey and Greece are currently fighting for Mediterranean exploration rights – but both leaders tweeted about the need for solidarity in times of crisis.
“It is time for our people to stand together, regardless of our differences,” wrote Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “The solidarity shown by two neighbors during difficult times is more valuable than many things in life,” said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
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