Earlier today, about noon GMT, Turkey was struck by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The epicentre was about 10 miles north of the city of Van, near the lake of the same name; the region has been rocked repeatedly since then with a succession of more than 30 aftershocks, some reaching as high as 5.9 and all higher than 4.5, which are still continuing. Currently there are 45 confirmed deaths (some news agencies reporting 85) but it is estimated the toll could reach 1000 or more.
CNN has reported on the earthquake, as has the BBC. The Turkish Red Crescent is rendering aid to those affected, setting up disaster management centres and helping to co-ordinate relief efforts with the Turkish miliatary; the British Red Cross hasn’t yet started an appeal as needs are still to be assessed and no request for international aid has been requested yet, but donations can be made to the British Red Cross general fund via the front page.
ShelterBox are assessing the situation and standing by for a request from the Turkish government. The DEC have not yet announced an appeal. The IHH is accepting donations now – scroll down and choose “Van Acil Yardim”.
It is being reported on Twitter that Israel has offered aid to Turkey and been refused, but thus far Turkey has not requested aid from any other countries, though the international community is standing by to render assistance, and several countries have teams of their own earthquake specialists standing by in case of need. A plane with medical aid and supplies from Azerbaijan has just touched down at the quake-damaged Van airport.
The latest up-to-date information is being disseminated via Twitter using the hashtags #earthquake, #Van and #Turkey.