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BISHKEK Oct. 10—Following a series of powerful earthquakes that rocked southern Kyrgyzstan claiming 74 lives, seismologists determined that the death toll might have been higher had it not been for the fact that the epicentre was in the mountains more than 3,000 metres above sea level. Aftershocks reaching 6 to 6.5 on the Richter scale were felt in Osh.
On Oct. 5, panic erupted when powerful jolts began at 10 p.m. Within half an hour, powerful tremors razed the mountain village of Nura to the ground. According to figures released by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health, 41 children of school and pre-school age died in the tragedy.
Thirty-eight of the surviving villagers have been evacuated to safety, but according to officials from the Kyrgyz government, search and rescue efforts are being hampered by the fact that the worst-affected settlements are situated in remote areas well away from roads. A total of 128 dwellings within the quake zone have been completely destroyed.
“Seismologists are not ruling out the possibility that an earthquake may occur in Osh province,” said the director of the Kyrgyz Seismological Institute, Kanatbek Abdrakhmatov. “In all there were around 100 tremors, more than 15 of which were of a magnitude between 3 and 4 [on the Richter scale]. The Institute had previously forecasted that a series of quakes [like this one] would occur.”