Image: Women mourn children killed in Turkey earthquake.
Cem Bakirci  /  AP
Turkish women mourn over their children killed in an earthquake in the village of Yigincal, eastern Turkey, early Friday.
updated 7/2/2004 7:40:56 AM ET 2004-07-02T11:40:56

A moderate earthquake heavily damaged several villages in eastern Turkey on Friday, killing 18 people and injuring 21, officials said.

Turkish television showed women wailing outside homes reduced to piles of stone, wood and mud. The Anatolia news agency said 67 homes were destroyed.

Most people were sleeping when the quake hit at around 1:30 a.m.

The heaviest damage appeared to be in Yigincal, a village near the Iranian border. Damage was also reported in several other villages in the same area of Dogubeyazit province.

The Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory put the magnitude of the quake at 5.0. Several aftershocks were reported.

The Red Crescent sent tents and blankets to the scene.

The local governor, Huseyin Yavuzdemir, said the death toll might have been higher save for the fact that many people leave the villages for pastures in the summer.

Quakes are frequent in Turkey, which lies on the active faults. Two massive earthquakes hit northwestern Turkey in 1999, killing about 18,000 people.

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