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  Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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A strong earthquake has killed more than 60 people in southern
A strong earthquake has killed more than 60 people in southern Kyrgyzstan and leveled a village in the Central Asian state, the local emergency situations ministry said Monday.

The earthquake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, struck near the former Soviet republic's densely populated border area with China on Sunday, also injuring another 100 people and destroying some 120 buildings, as well as roads and power lines.

The bodies of 25 people were pulled out from the rubble in the Alaisky district, Health Ministry official Dinara Sagynbayeva said. "It is early now to speak of an exact number of casualties and the character of the wounds," she added.

Local officials said the earthquake also destroyed the high-altitude village of Nura on Kyrgyzstan's border with China, which was at the epicenter of the earthquake. The village has a population of around 1,000 people.

A rescue operation is underway and people are being evacuated from the worst-hit areas by helicopter. The search for survivors and casualties is ongoing, and seismologists have warned that new aftershocks could be expected in the quake-stricken region this week.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has cancelled all the scheduled events for Tuesday and is expected to visit the affected areas, his spokesperson said. The president has ordered the government to provide aid to the quake victims and deal with the consequences of the earthquake.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent his condolences to his Kyrgyz counterpart and ordered Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry to provide aid to Kyrgyzstan. An aircraft carrying humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan will arrive Tuesday.

Kyrgyzstan was hit by a series of strong quakes in January and in December 2007. Although a number of buildings were destroyed in the quakes, which reached 6.5 on the Richter scale, no one was killed.


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