Aftershocks following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake, which occurred off the coast of the Ölüdeniz district in Turkey’s Mediterranean region on Sunday, continued to shake the region on Monday as civilian volunteers and search and rescue teams were sent to the region in case of a more powerful earthquake.
Sunday’s quake, which took place at 3:44 p.m., was felt in Muğla as well as many other neighboring provinces in the Aegean and Mediterranean region. No damage or casualties were initially reported, but the tremor caused much panic in the resort town and neighboring districts. Several beaches were evacuated after the quake.
A statement released by the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) on Monday stated that there have been 203 aftershocks recorded with magnitudes ranging from 1.7-5.0 in the first 18 hours following the initial quake in Muğla. Civilian volunteers and search and rescue teams from neighboring provinces such as İzmir and Afyonkarahisar were dispatched to the region in case a stronger earthquake occurs.
Fifty tents, 90 beds and 200 blankets were also sent to Fethiye as a precaution on Monday by the İzmir Logistics Directorate General. The relief
items are being kept at the Fethiye branch of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay).
Kemalettin Güngör, responsible for coordinating rescue efforts, said they came to Fethiye with a 20-member team. “We will wait today. We are on alert. We hope we don’t have a new disaster,” he said.
Regarding Sunday’s quake, geophysicist Professor Ahmet Mete Işıkara said that if the Muğla quake had not been so deep and occurred closer to the surface, it could have led to destructive results similar to the 1999 Marmara earthquake, which claimed the lives of thousands of people. Işıkara also lamented a continued ignorance among the general populace about how to react during an earthquake. He added, “People are jumping out of windows; if they had some awareness about quakes, they would not be doing so.”
Geologist Associate Professor Oğuz Gündoğdu said the quake in Muğla was expected and that there was nothing abnormal about it.
Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by several fault lines. Small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Most recently, some 650 people were killed in two earthquakes that hit the eastern province of Van on Oct. 21 and Nov. 9 of last year and thousands were left homeless.