“We are doing everything we can as the state and nation, and we will continue to do so. Our efforts at all rescue sites will continue,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, adding state house developer TOKI would make sure no one was left “hungry or in the open.”
Turkish broadcasters showed footage of rescuers pulling people out from under the debris, some around 21 hours after the quake.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said an estimated 22 people were still trapped. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD) said later that 43 people had been rescued so far.
The magnitude 6.8 quake shook Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, shortly before 9 p.m. (1800 GMT), and was followed by 462 aftershocks, according to AFAD.
Rescue teams worked through the night with their hands, drills and mechanical diggers to remove bricks and plaster from collapsed buildings in Elazig, where the overnight temperature dipped to 17.6°Fahrenheit, similar temperatures are expected on Saturday night.
“Our houses collapsed ... we cannot go inside them,” said a 32-year-old man from the town of Sivrice, epicenter of the quake, adding that in their village “some people lost their lives. I hope God will help us.”
Twenty-five people were killed in Elazig and four more in the neighboring province of Malatya, AFAD said, adding 1,466 others were injured.
Health Minster Fahrettin Koca said 128 injured people were receiving treatment and that 34 of those were in intensive care, but not in critical condition.
Officials had identified 514 heavily damaged and 409 lightly damaged buildings in Elazig and Malatya, AFAD said in a statement. It said there were also 72 collapsed structures in the two provinces.