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Death toll from Turkey quake more than 600

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:16 PM EDT, Sun October 30, 2011
Rescue workers carry the body of a victim in Ercis, Turkey, on Thursday, after an earthquake shook the area.
Rescue workers carry the body of a victim in Ercis, Turkey, on Thursday, after an earthquake shook the area.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 4,100 people were injured in the quake last Sunday
  • The town of Ercis was hard-hit
  • More than 230 people have been pulled alive from the rubble

Istanbul (CNN) -- The death toll from an earthquake that struck eastern Turkey a week ago was at 601 as of Sunday, the Turkish state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

More than 4,100 people were injured in last Sunday's 7.2-magnitude quake, which struck Turkey's Van province.

At least 455 people died in the town of Ercis, where rescue efforts have been under way throughout the week, a crisis center in Van province reported Saturday.

However, some 231 people have been found alive in the rubble, despite temperatures nearing the freezing mark at night, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Saturday, according to Anatolia. Two teenagers were pulled out of the rubble alive late Thursday and early Friday, more than 100 hours after the quake.

Eighty-four buildings have collapsed in Ercis and six more in the city of Van, Atalay said.

Relief crews have distributed 40,721 tents -- including 6,088 from abroad -- and 159,360 blankets to survivors, authorities said. A total of 1,309 aftershock quakes have occurred since Sunday's main temblor, officials said.

Turkey's government plans to present a new law to parliament by the end of December which would see the evacuation of settlements in areas at high risk of natural disaster, Anatolia reported.

Laws governing construction and property management would also be revised under the so-called Urban Transformation Law, the agency said.

The United States and China are the latest countries to offer help to Turkey's quake survivors.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the U.S. European Command to provide humanitarian relief supplies including blankets, cots, sleeping bags and hygiene kits, the Pentagon said Friday.

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