A major 6.2 quake in Uzbekistan killed at least 13 people and injured 86 others, when it struck on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border in the remote Fergana Valley region, Uzbek officials said.
The quake struck at 1:35 am (1935 GMT Tuesday) with the epicentre just inside neighbouring Kyrgyzstan but 42 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of the Uzbek city of Fergana, the US Geological Survey said.
“As a result of the earthquake, some old buildings were destroyed in the Fergana region,” the Uzbek emergencies ministry said in a statement.
“According to initial information, 13 people were killed as a result of the damage to the houses,” it added.
“The emergency services provided medical assistance to 86 people and 35 people were taken to nearest hospitals,” the statement said.
It said that the quake registered 5.0 even in the capital Tashkent, some 235 kilometres away from the epicentre.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov has ordered officials to tackle the aftermath.
Kyrgyzstan has so far reported no casualties but the full extent of the damage in the remote region may only become apparent later when a special team dispatched by the Kyrgyz authorities finishes its work.
“It’s clear that there will be damage, the earthquake was just too strong,” said the head of the seismological institute at the Kyrgyz academy of sciences, Kanat Abdrakhmatov.
The Fergana Valley is an area shared uneasily by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and populated by complex tapestry of ethnic groups. It has been the scene of periodic violence and unrest since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
The quake struck the border region at a depth of just 9.2 kilometers, rocking Fergana, a city of some 200,000 residents.
The quake was also registered at 6.0 in Tajikistan’s second city of Khujand which has a population of 150,000 people, Tajik officials said.
In Khunjad, a 43-year-old man threw himself out of a second-floor window, killing himself, the Tajik interior ministry said.
“Maybe he was sleepy, maybe he figured ‘if everything collapses, I will remain under ruins,’ and so he jumped out and died,” a source in the interior ministry told AFP.