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    18 got killed as earthquake of magnitude 6.8 hits Turkey

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    A powerful earthquake has killed at least 18 people and injured hundreds in eastern Turkey, as rescue teams searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors early on Saturday.

    At least 30 people were missing following the magnitude 6.8 quake, which had its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in the eastern province of Elazig.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all steps were being taken to aid people affected by the quake, which caused widespread fear.

    People who fled their homes in panic were lighting fires in the streets to stay warm in freezing temperatures.

    The Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said the quake hit Sivrice at around 8:55 pm (1755 GMT). Turkey lies on major faultlines and is prone to frequent earthquakes.

    Interior, environment and health ministers said at least 18 people were killed, 13 of them in Elazig province and five others in the neighbouring province of Malatya, which lies to the southwest.

    Some 553 people were injured, they said.

    Rescue teams were searching for survivors trapped in a five-storey collapsed building in a village some 30 kilometres from Elazig, according to sources. One person was pulled alive from the rubble.

    Sports centres, schools and guest houses had been opened to accommodate quake victims in Malatya.

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