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MOSCOW, October 23 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to ready to send rescuers and a mobile hospital to quake-stricken Turkey.
“By the order of the Russian president, the Emergency Situations Ministry has prepared forces [for giving assistance to the cleanup of the aftereffects of the quake in Turkey]. Two Ilyushin Il-76 planes carrying rescuers, rescue dog handlers, psychologists, a mobile hospital and rescue equipment are on standby,” ministry spokesperson Irina Andrianova told Itar-Tass.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has presented condolences to the president and people of Turkey over large casualties caused by a powerful earthquake, the Kremlin press office said.
Medvedev offered Turkish President Abdullah Gul all the necessary assistance in the cleanup of the quake aftermath.
He also ordered the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to be prepared for giving assistance to Turkey.
More than 80 people died and about 500 were hurt in the Sunday earthquake in Turkey, the local media said, noting that the information was not final. There have been no official casualty reports so far. The authorities are expecting results of inspections in quake-stricken regions.
A number of districts in the Van province in eastern Turkey were harmed most. Many local residents were hurt by falling overhead covers and in other accidents, as well as in panic that started after the first tremors. CNN Turk said that the quake occurred in Van but almost the entire southeast of Turkey sustained damage. From 50 to 70 buildings were ruined.
Rescuers have retrieved many people from under the debris, and all of them were taken to hospitals. The hospitals are unable to cope with the large number of patients, and many of them are given aid in hospital yards.
Food and prime necessities are being supplied to the quake zone. The Turkish branch of the Red Crescent, the government and the army rapidly assigned transport planes and trucks for delivering humanitarian aid, diesel generators, drinking water and tents. Many people who lost their homes and whose homes are safe may choose temporary accommodation in tent camps for fear of new tremors. The quake seriously damaged water mains, electricity and gas lines. All the planes routed for Van are sent to other airports.
The government, the Van province authorities and the Turkish Foreign Ministry set up crisis management centers to coordinate the rescue operations and the assistance to local residents . Turkey has received offers of help from Russia, Israel, Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Greece, Bulgaria, China, Japan and Georgia.
Israel has offered Turkey to help combat the quake aftereffects.
The Israeli embassy in Ankara has presented the official proposal to the Turkish side, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Turkey must be given any assistance it needed, and the General Staff chief ordered rescuers to be on standby.
The Israeli radio said that quake casualties in Turkey might reach from 500 to 1,000.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has sent 120 rescuers to Turkey for assisting the cleanup of the aftermath of a powerful quake in the Van province, the Azerbaijani Emergency Situations Ministry said.
The rescuers are fully equipped and have dogs trained to find people under debris.
The Seismological Service of the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences said that tremors were felt in Nakhichevan in southeastern Azerbaijan and measured 3-3.5 points on the 12-point scale. There were neither casualties nor damage.
A quake of 7.2 points on the Richter scale happened in eastern Turkey on Sunday. The quake epicenter was located 35 kilometers northeast of Van.
The Van province is located within one of the most seismically unstable territories of Turkey. It regularly reports medium earthquakes. Several thousands of people have died in the Van province since the early 20th century because of the devastating quakes. Large quakes occurred in the beginning of the 20th century and in the 1940s.
The tremors were felt in other countries of the region, as well.
Tremors were felt in Georgian districts bordering on Turkey at 2:42 p.m. Moscow time on Sunday, seismologists told the media.
There is no information about the scale of the tremors in Georgia. There are no casualty reports either.
People in Armenia were alarmed by the powerful earthquake, which happened in Turkey and sent tremors to the entire region, including Georgia, Iraq and Iran.
The tremors in Armenia measured three to five points on the twelve-point scale, the National Seismic Protection Service of the Armenian Emergency Situations Ministry said. There were neither casualties nor damage in the republic.