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Turkey's Massive Earthquake Kills 51

A massive earthquake in Turkey killed 51 people and tumbled many buildings. The earthquake occurred at 4:32 a.m. local time in the village of Basyurt, Turkey in the Elazig province. Basyurt is a remote and sparcely populated area 340 miles east of Turkey's capital, Ankara. The earthquake's devastation reached over 5 villages, injured many, flattened buildings, and left many dead. The initial earthquake measured 5.9 on the U.S. Geological Survey's Richter scale and the aftershocks, totalling nearly 80 in number, measured 5.3 to 5.5 in magnitude range.

Turkey's crisis center reported that 34 people were injured and initial death counts to be 57 (which has since been lowered to 51). The village of Okcular was hardest hit by the earthquake. Officials reported 15 of the 900 citizens dead as a result of the incident. Okcular village administrator Hasan Dimirdag reported "The village is totally flattened," to NTV television.

Citizens in the areas most affected by the earthquake were caught completely off guard as many were sleeping at the time of the quake. Barns, mud-brick houses, and minarets (Islamic mosques) were reportedly rendered rubble as a result of the earthquake.

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