Dozens killed in Kyrgyzstan quake

A weekend earthquake killed up to 70 people in Kyrgyzstan and levelled a village in the south of the Central Asian nation, the emergencies ministry said on Monday.

The earthquake, measuring 6,3 according to the United States Geological Survey, jolted an area between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — Central Asia’s most densely populated corner prone to instability and ethnic tension.

”The death toll might be 65 to 70, according to preliminary reports,” said emergencies ministry spokesperson Abdusamat Payazov from the regional centre of Osh.

Payazov said another 50 people were injured, some of them severely, in the high-altitude village of Nura on Kyrgyzstan’s border with China had been destroyed.

”The village has been levelled,” the spokesperson said.

He said the emergencies ministry and the military were sending more rescue teams and doctors to the village, which has a population of just under 1 000.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev would visit Nura on Tuesday, his administration said. The Russian embassy in Kyrgyzstan said Moscow would provide humanitarian aid to the impoverished country.

Earthquakes are frequent in Central Asia, a region wedged between Afghanistan, Iran, Russia and China.

In 1966, the Uzbek capital Tashkent was flattened by a 7,5 earthquake when hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless. A 6 magnitude quake rocked Tashkent this August but there was no damage. – Reuters

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