A powerful earthquake struck Central Asia, destroying a village in Kyrgyzstan and killing at least 60 people, emergency officials said today.
The 6.6-magnitude quake near the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan hit the remote village of Nura hard, bringing down dozens of buildings and injuring more than 100 people in addition to the confirmed deaths, Emergency Situations Minister Kamchybek Tashiyev said.
“What we’ve seen is terrible, the village of Nura is completely destroyed - 100%,” Mr Tashiyev said. “There are many injured and we’ve counted 60 dead so far, all of them local residents.”
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties elsewhere.
Mr Tashiyev said a helicopter was ferrying the most seriously injured to hospitals in the nearest city, the southern regional centre of Osh, more than 60 miles away.
He added that the death toll could rise.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to help Kyrgyzstan respond to the quake.
Last night‘s quake epicentre was in Kyrgyzstan, the US Geological Survey said. It said a 5.1 magnitude quake followed a few hours later.
The Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry said the epicentre was in Tajikistan.
Earthquakes are common in the mountains of former Soviet Central Asia, adding to the troubles for residents of the impoverished area.