Images posted on social media showed one building in the coastal Turkish city of Izmir entirely collapsed with people climbing over the wreckage that was strewn with what appeared to be clothes and household objects. Video posted on Twitter appeared to show debris strewn across a central Izmir boulevard.
It was not clear how many people were trapped under the rubble in Izmir, the city’s mayor, Tunç Soyer, told NBC News. Soyer said at least 20 buildings had collapsed in the city.
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that four people had died in the earthquake and 120 people had been injured.
Nearly 40 ambulances, 35 emergency rescue teams and two ambulance helicopters were on the scene, he said.
“We are with the people of Izmir,” he added.
Residents of Samos, a Greek island with a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas, Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece’s organization for anti-seismic planning, told Greece’s Skai TV after the quake struck.
“It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one,” said Lekkas.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted Friday that “with all the means of our state, we stand by our citizens affected by the earthquake.”
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The Turkish interior ministry said search, rescue and first aid teams were sent to the region immediately. The Turkish Red Crescent said its disaster teams had also taken action following the quake.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the earthquake was 33.5 km (20.8 miles) off Turkey’s coast and the depth was 10 km (6.2 miles).
Aziz Akyavas reported from Istanbul. Saphora Smith and Matthew Mulligan reported from London.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Matthew Mulligan contributed.