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5.9-magnitude quake hits northwest Turkey: one dead

by Staff Writers
Ankara (AFP) May 20, 2011
An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale hit northwest Turkey late Thursday, killing one person and causing material damage, local governor Kenan Ciftci told news channel NTV.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck around 2015 GMT, was at Simav in Kutahya province about 310 kilometres (190 miles) west of the capital Ankara, Anatolia news agency said, citing the Kandilli seismological institute in Istanbul.

The quake was also felt in the neighbouring provinces and as far as Istanbul, it said.

"A citizen who was frightened during the quake jumped out of a window and was killed," Ciftci, the governor of Kutahya province, told NTV.

"There is a certain amount of damage, and we are trying to restore electricity to Simav," he added.

Simav, a town of around 100,000 inhabitants, comes under Kutahya province administratively.

Anatolia reported that a derelict building collapsed in the town.

Turkish television channels reported residents of the quake-hit region panicked, rushing out into the streets, and telephone lines were jammed making it difficult to contact the area for more information.

Several aftershocks were felt in the region.

"It was quite violent, we immediately went out into the streets," Ihsan Tuncoglu, chairman of the journalists' union in Kutahya, told NTV.

A 5.9-magnitude quake could be expected to cause damage in Turkey due to substandard home construction.

Turkey is earthquake-prone due to being crossed by several fault lines.

An earthquake in Kutahya province in 1970 killed more than 1,000 people.

In 1999, two strong quakes in the heavily populated and industrialised regions of northwest Turkey left some 20,000 dead.

Experts say the Istanbul region is threatened by a strong quake.

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