At least 19 people have died in Turkey and Greece after a strong earthquake triggered a mini-tsunami.
The quake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday, bringing buildings crashing down and setting off tidal waves which slammed into coastal areas and islands.
People ran onto streets in panic in the Turkish city of Izmir, witnesses said, after the quake struck with a magnitude of up to 7.0.
Neighbourhoods were deluged with surging seawater which swept debris inland and left fish stranded as it receded.
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Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said 19 people died, one due to drowning, while 709 people were injured.
On the Greek island of Samos two teenagers, a boy and a girl, were found dead in an area where a wall had collapsed.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “I am deeply distressed by the scenes of destruction we have seen following the earthquake in the Aegean Sea today. We stand ready to support our Turkish and Greek friends in any way they need.”
Search and rescue operations continued at 17 collapsed or damaged buildings in Izmir, AFAD said.
The area’s governor said 70 people had been rescued from under the rubble.
Ilke Cide, a doctoral student who was in Izmir’s Guzelbahce region during the earthquake, said he went inland after waters rose following the earthquake.
“I am very used to earthquakes… so I didn’t take it very seriously at first but this time it was really scary,” he said, adding the earthquake had lasted for at least 25-30 seconds.
Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Turkey is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.
More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude quake struck Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul.
In 2011, a quake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.
Ismail Yetiskin, mayor of Izmir’s Seferihisar, said sea levels rose as a result of the quake.
“There seems to be a small tsunami,” he told broadcaster NTV.
Debris including refrigerators, chairs and tables could be seen floating through streets.
Idil Gungor, who runs a hotel in Izmir’s Seferihisar district, told broadcaster NTV that people were cleaning the debris after the floodwaters receded.
She said fish had washed up on the garden of the hotel, around 50 metres from the shore.
Residents of the Greek island of Samos, which has a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas.
Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece’s organisation for anti-seismic planning, said: “It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one.”
High tidal wave warnings were in place in Samos, where eight people were also injured, according to a Greek official.
“We have never experienced anything like it,” said George Dionysiou, the local vice-mayor.
“People are panicking.”
AFAD put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.6, while the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 7.0.
It was felt along Turkey’s Aegean coast and the northwestern Marmara region.