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DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, Oct. 6—The strongest earthquake in recent history struck an area on the border of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and China on Oct. 5.
First Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Emergency Situations and Civil Defence Makhmadullo Khalimov said the epicentre was 450 kilometres north-east of the capital of Tajikistan on the border with Kyrgyzstan where the earthquake registered 8 points on the Richter scale.
Residents of the mountain village of Karakul in Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region felt the strongest vibrations.
Residents of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan took the brunt of the shock, and according to the latest figures 74 people died, including 41 children. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, Khalimov said, and some of the victims could be families of ethnic Tajiks living in the border regions.
The shock waves were also felt in China. Tremors measuring 6.8 points were felt in south-western Xinjiang Uygyr autonomous region. As of yet there have been no reports of victims or damage in China.
Tajikistan has registered more than 20 strong earthquakes in the past 100 years, and almost all of them have destroyed towns and killed hundreds and thousands of people.
According to the director of the Seismology and Seismic Resistant Construction Institute in the Tajik Academy of Sciences, Dzhakhongir Nizomov, seismologists can detect movement of the earth’s surface at the modernised Karasu seismic station that resumed operation at the end of last year.
He said digital equipment has been installed at the station making it possible to expand seismic research. “Karasu station registers events on a real-time basis and can plan and implement effective measures to reduce seismic risk,” he said.