Houstonians with Turkish ties work to reach relatives after earthquake strikes region

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houstonians with ties to the Turkish region hit by a strong earthquake Friday say they've been trying to reach relatives there.

"We are saddened by this," said Mustafa Ozsoy, who owns Pasha, a Turkish restaurant in Rice Village. "We have been trying to contact them and have reached some of them," Ozsoy said.

"Turkey unfortunately is not in a very good place in terms of earthquakes," Ozsoy said. "It's not a good feeling, especially during this COVID. People are going through an extremely hard situation now. Pray for the Turkish people and the Greek people."

The quake killed at least 14 people and injured over 500 after buildings were toppled and tsunami waters flooded the region.

The city of Izmir, a city in western Turkey was the worst affected by the event that struck the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos.

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Video shows rescue workers digging through rubble after a strong earthquake hit the Turkish coast.

Search-and-rescue efforts were underway as people were pulled from the rubble, including one survivor who was found hours after the quake.

The earthquake, which the Kandilli Institute said had a magnitude of 6.9, struck at 2:51 p.m. local time (11:51 GMT) in Turkey and was centered in the Aegean northeast of Samos.

It was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as the Greek capital, Athens, and in Bulgaria. In Turkey, it shook the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including Istanbul. Istanbul's governor said there were no reports of damage in the city, Turkey's largest.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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