Rescuers dug through heavy blocks of concrete with their bare hands today in a desperate search for survivors from a powerful earthquake that levelled buildings across Greece and Turkey, killing at least 19 people.

The quake caused a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and a sea surge that turned streets into rushing rivers in one town on Turkey’s west coast.

Much of the damage in Turkey occurred in and around the Aegean resort city of Izmir, which has three million residents and is filled with high-rise apartment blocks. 

It was unclear how many people were trapped in the rubble.

Turkish officials confirmed 12 dead and more than 420 injured after the quake hit the coastal province of Izmir.

In Greece, two teenagers – a boy and a girl – were killed on the island of Samos when a building collapsed on top of them.

Search-and-rescue efforts were continuing in at least 12 buildings.