Tajikistan was on Tuesday hit by an earthquake measuring up to 6.2 points on the Richter scale, the country’s emergency ministry reported, adding that avalanches two days earlier killed 10 people in the northeast.
The earthquake struck at 8:30am local time. Dustmurod Zabirov, a spokesman for the Tajik emergencies and civil defence ministry, told IRIN that the earthquake’s was in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, about 280km southeast of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.
A tremor was felt in Dushanbe and in the southeastern town of Khorog in the Badakhshan region, which borders Afghanistan’s province with the same name, Zabirov said. There were no preliminary reports of casualties or damage available, he added.
Seismologists say Tajikistan is hit by an average of 2,000-2,500 tremors annually.
In July 2006, two quakes measuring 5-5.5 on the Richter scale hit southern Tajikistan, killing three children and making 16,500 people homeless.
Tajikistan is prone to various natural disasters, including landslides, avalanches, floods and earthquakes. According to the World Bank, each year the mountainous Central Asian state experiences about 50,000 landslides, 5,000 tremors and earthquakes, and hundreds of avalanches and debris flows.
On 1 April, avalanches killed 10 people in northeastern Tajikistan, the ministry spokesman said.
An avalanche hit the village of Kazoktari in the northeastern Jirgital district, about 250km from Dushanbe, burying a house and killing all but two members of a family of 11, including two children aged seven and five.
An avalanche in the nearby village of Jilondi killed a 17-year-old boy.
The emergency ministry is currently assessing the extent of the damage inflicted in the area.
With some 93 percent of Tajikistan’s territory covered by mountains, avalanches are common in winter and spring. In the first two months of 2006, 21 people were killed by avalanches in the country. In 2005, a spate of 400 avalanches caused damage worth at least US $3 million.
According to the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), natural disasters - including landslides, floods and earthquakes - have killed about 2,500 people and affected more than 5.5 million people (almost 10 percent of the total population) in the five Central Asian republics - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - over the past decade.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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