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7.4 Earthquake Devastates Turkey - 1999

Friday, August 17, 2007

On this day, August 17, 1999, an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck northwestern Turkey, near Izmit, in the most prosperous and highly developed area of the country. According to some estimates, more than 30,000 people died and more than 600,000 buildings were destroyed within 20 kilometres of the epicentre, while one third of the city of Gialova sank into the water.

The Devastation

Thirty minutes after the earthquake, the distillation tower in the Turpas refinery (Turkey's largest refinery) collapsed, causing the outbreak of fire in four large petroleum storage tanks.

One of the unexpected good consequences of this disaster was the speed and enthusiasm of the Greek government's response in sending firefighting and disaster assistance to Turkey.... historically 'enemies' for hundreds of years.

This has since developed into Turkey and Greece working together to this day on joint disaster and bushfire fighting plans.

Turpas Refinery Firefighting

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“7.4 Earthquake Devastates Turkey - 1999”

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