Death toll in Turkey earthquake reaches 57

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The death toll from a 6.0-magnitude earthquake that shook eastern Turkey on Monday reached 57, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Fifty-seven people had been killed by the quake, which caused the most deaths in six villages around the epicenter in the Karakocan town of the eastern province of Elazig, the newspaper quoted Karakocan mayor as saying.

The quake struck Basyurt region of Karakocan town at a depth of 5 km at 4:32 a.m. local time (0232 GMT), said the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute of Turkey's Bogazici University.

Tremors were also felt in neighboring provinces of Tunceli, Bingol and Diyarbakir, said Hurriyet Daily News.

The institute has so far reported 27 aftershocks and more are expected over the next hours and days, according to the newspaper.

The Turkish Red Crescent had sent 500 tents and foodstuff to the quake zone, while State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek and other senior officials had left the capital Ankara for Elazig, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Elementary and secondary schools in the disaster area will be closed for two days, the agency said.

It quoted Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Situation Management Directorate as saying the magnitude of the quake was 5.8 on the Richter scale.

On Feb. 21, a 4.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Gokdere region of Elazig, but no damage was reported, said Hurriyet Daily News.

With much of its territories lying atop the North Anatolian fault, Turkey is a quake-prone country. In 1999, more than 18,000 people were killed in two devastating earthquakes in the country.

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