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RF rescuers ready to leave for quake-hit Turkey – Shoigu

October 24, 2011, 19:34 UTC+3

Till now the Turkish authorities say they cope with the situation by their own forces”

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VLADIVOSTOK, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — Russian rescuers are ready to leave for Turkey to provide assistance to coping with the consequences of the disastrous earthquake if it necessary, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Shoigu is currently in Vladivostok on a working visit.

The Russian minister said an hour and half after the earthquake rescuers, who responded to disasters abroad – Centrospas and Center Leader, were ready to leave for the spot. “Everything was done on the instruction of the president,” the minister said, adding that Russia had offered aid to Turkey.

“Till now the Turkish authorities say they cope with the situation by their own forces,” Shoigu said.

A quake of 7.3 points on the Richter scale happened in eastern Turkey on Sunday. The quake epicentre was located 35 kilometres northeast of Van. The quake nested at the depth of 94 kilometres. In some areas the tremors have been continuing for 30 seconds.

About 50 buildings, including residencies and a school dormitory, were flattened to the ground, and several hundreds of buildings sustained serious damage, the local media said. The police said that casualties were large but their precise number is unknown. The Turkish seismological station head suggested that the number of casualties might reach 1,000.

A total of 200 people died as a result of the earthquake. “According to our assessment, casualties may be higher. If Turkey asks for assistance, we will render it,” the Russian minister said.

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.

No Russians were hurt in the Sunday quake in Turkey, Federal Tourism Agency press secretary Oleg Moseyev told Itar-Tass.

“According to the preliminary information, the quake in eastern Turkey did not hurt any citizens of Russia. The data will be double-checked. Hopefully, it will be confirmed tomorrow,” he said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also offered condolences to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the devastating earthquake.

“We sincerely sympathize with Turkey’s people and government in their sorrow over multiple victims and large-scale destructions caused by the large quake in the country’s east. We are ready to provide all necessary assistance to overcome effects of this natural calamity,” he said in a message.

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