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Dozens injured in Turkish quake

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale has rocked eastern Turkey.

At least 46 people are reported to have been injured in the quake, which struck on Wednesday morning, although the Reuters news agency said the casualty figure was nearer 120.

A statement from the governor's office said 17 village houses were damaged in the quake.

Officials told The Associated Press most of the injuries were caused by people throwing themselves from windows or balconies in panic.

In 1999, two major earthquakes struck western Turkey, killing some 18,000 people and damaging hundreds of thousands of homes.

The quake struck at 12.42 a.m. local time (2142 GMT) and was centred 40 kilometers (24 miles) east of the city of Erzurum, Istanbul's Kandilli Observatory said.

The quake was followed by a series of minor aftershocks, the largest with a magnitude of 3.0.

Turkey was devastated by an earthquake in 1999
Turkey was devastated by an earthquake in 1999  

"We jumped out of our beds with fear when we felt the quake," an official in the local governor's office told Reuters.

Rescue teams have been sent to five nearby villages to assess damage to buildings, said Osman Derya Kadioglu, the governor of Erzurum province.

Thousands of people remained on the streets overnight, fearing a second major quake.

Most of Turkey lies on the active North Anatolian fault.

• Turkish Government
• UNICEF's Earthquake in Turkey
• The World-Wide Earthquake Locator
• Understanding Earthquakes

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