Death toll in Kyrgyzstan earthquake rises to 65 (Lead)

October 6th, 2008 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bishkek/Moscow, Oct 6 (DPA) The death toll in the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that hit southern Kyrgyzstan last night rose to 65, the emergency ministry said Monday.More than 50 people were also injured in the devastating quake that wrecked dozens of homes in the rural and mountainous southern province of Osh of the Central Asian state, the ministry said, adding that rescue workers were still searching for survivors under the rubble.

The epicentre of the quake was located 65 km southeast of Sary-Tash, a village at the corner of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale, hit at 9:52 p.m. and was at a depth of 35 km, it said.

Most of the casualties occurred in the mountain town of Nura along Kyrgyzstan’s border with China, where at least 120 homes were destroyed, Kamchibek Tashiev, an emergency ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

The village of Nura is “almost completely destroyed,” said Tashiev.

“Getting aid to victims is made difficult by the remoteness of the villages which were affected by the earthquake… the nearest point providing medical aid is 76 km from Nura,” he said.

Earthquakes are frequent in the region. A 6.0-magnitude quake jolted the nearby Uzbek capital of Tashkent this August but it wrought little damage.

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