At least three people were killed and scores more trapped under the rubble of two hotels and a dozen other buildings when an earthquake hit eastern Turkey less than three weeks after another quake killed 600 in the same area.
The magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck 16 km (9 miles) south of the city of Van at 1923 GMT, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The tremor destroyed at least seven buildings, including two hotels in Van city, and around 14 other structures in other parts of the region, state television said, Reuters reports.
It said at least 100 people may still be trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings with one reporter saying up to 70 people may have been staying at one of the hotels.
Eleven people have so far been rescued alive from the rubble of the two hotels, state-run Anatolian news agency said.
Television footage showed panicked people running through the streets of Van and ambulances rushing through the city with their sirens wailing. Medical staff treated one unconscious person lying on an ambulance stretcher.
Wednesday’s earthquake comes after a 7.6 magnitude tremor hit just northeast of Van on October 23, killing about 600 people. There have been hundreds of aftershocks since and thousands of people are still camping out in tents in freezing conditions.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who had been in the nearby town of Ercis at the time of the quake on Wednesday, went to the crisis coordination centre in Van, Anatolian said. Ercis was the worst hit area in last month’s quake.
Around 30 ambulances stationed in Ercis were sent to Van in the wake of the tremor. Ercis is some 60 km north of Van.
Five planes were to fly to the region carrying search and rescue teams, Anatolian said. Other rescue teams were travelling to the quake zone from the nearby provinces of Mus and Agri.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay and Health Minister Recep Akdag were also preparing to travel to the region, state television said.
Turkey is criss-crossed with seismic faultines and experiences small tremors nearly every day. Some 20,000 people were killed by two large earthquakes in western Turkey in 1999.