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20 July 2011

Earthquake strikes Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

Image: USGS  (Click on image for larger view.)

At least 13 people have been reported dead in a earthquake of magnitude 6.1 in Central Asia.

Uzbekistan's emergency ministry said the quake in Kyrgyz border area had also left 86 wounded.

Kyrgyzstan has so far reported no casualties. The quake struck at 0135 on Wednesday (1935 GMT Tuesday).

It was centred 11 miles (18 km) deep some 26 miles south-west of the Uzbek city of Ferghana, the US Geological Survey said.

Walls cracked

"As a result of the earthquake, some old buildings were destroyed in the Ferghana region," the Uzbek ministry said in a statement.

"According to initial information, 13 people were killed as a result of the damage to the houses."

Ferghana resident Dilaffrus Muminova told Reuters news agency the earthquake had lasted for about three minutes.

"Everybody was afraid. Everything was shaking."

A resident of the Kyrgyz city of Batken - who wanted to be known only by his first name of Ismat - said cracks were visible in the walls of some houses.

"People were on the streets all night. There was a lot of panic."

The Ferghana valley is split between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and is one of Central Asia's most densely populated areas. Reuters said tremors were felt across the region.

Central Asia has a history of earthquakes.

More than 70 people died in a 2008 earthquake in Kyrgyzstan while a magnitude 7.5 quake flattened the Uzbek capital Tashkent in 1966.