A powerful earthquake, 7.2 on the Richter scale struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 at 13:41 local time. It was so powerful that it managed to reduce multi-storey buildings into twisted rubble. Extensive areas sustained heavy damage to their structures, and as many as 250 people are already confirmed dead but as many as a thousand are feared dead. Multiple news reports suggest that up to 1300 are injured as a result of the earthquake with many still stuck under rubble.
Around 98 percent of Turkey is prone to earthquakes, while about a third of the country is at high risk, including the areas around the major cities of Istanbul and Izmir and the region of East Anatolia.
Three major fault lines, where geological plates meet, cross Turkey and small tremors are a daily occurrence. Two of these fault lines are located right below Van and Ercis, some 100 km to the north of the provincial capital.
In 1939 almost 40,000 people died in a massive quake in eastern Turkey, while the last major earthquake occurred only 12 years ago, when a 7.4 magnitude quake killed up to 20,000 people in north-western Turkey.
Watch this video showing victims being pulled alive from rubble.