A strong earthquake killed at least 38 people in villages in eastern Turkey early today and rescuers were working to free scores of survivors still trapped under the rubble. Turkey's Kandilli earthquake observatory said the quake measured 6.0 magnitude and had its epicentre at Basyurt in Elazig province. It struck at 4:32 am local time (0232 GMT). Hospital workers and relatives carried casualties from cars and ambulances into the state hospital in the nearby town of Kovancilar as concerned locals looked on. In nearby villages, locals lit fires to keep warm on the streets after rushing out of their houses in panic before dawn as the quake struck. The state emergency administration said in a statement 38 people had died in the three villages of Okcular, Yukari Kanatli and Kayali, according to the official Anatolian news agency. Among eight people killed in Okcular four were children, broadcaster CNN Turk said. A Red Crescent team has reached the quake zone and set up a crisis centre, as rescuers worked to search for survivors. The quake toppled the minarets of three mosques in villages in the area, said Elazig governor Muammer Erol. "The number of people injured is not clear. Ambulances keep on going back and forth. Rescue work is continuing. Our gendarmerie and civil defence teams are at work," he said. More than a dozen smaller aftershocks followed the main quake, Kandilli said. Panicked residents rushed out of their houses onto the streets when the quake hit and many stayed outside fearing aftershocks in the town of Tunceli, around 40 miles (64 km) from the epicentre of the quake. "There was a lot of fear and panic among the people. It lasted about a minute. We felt it very strongly and everyone tried to get out onto the street," Nursel Sengezer, a Dogan News Agency correspondent in Elazig, told broadcaster CNN Turk. Turkey is criss-crossed with faultlines and frequently suffers earthquakes. A large earthquake measuring 7.4 killed some 18,000 people in August 1999