Strong earthquake shakes Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek

Strong earthquake shakes Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek

The quake struck at 0755 am local time (0155 GMT) about 75 kilometres to the southeast of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, but an AFP correspondent reported heavy shaking in the city centre.

"The earthquake was located near the village of Cholpon, 22 kilometres west of the village Kochkorka and 10 kilometres to the south-east of the village Epkin," a spokesman for the country's Emergency Situations Ministry told AFP.

The Institute for Seismology in the Central Asian state's National Academy of Sciences, which monitors earthquakes and assists emergency services authorities, said that no casualties had yet been reported.

Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked and mountainous nation of five million people, is one of the poorest states of the former Soviet Union and lies in a seismically active region.

Like its neighbours in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan has struggled to maintain its ageing Soviet-era infrastructure, leading to concerns across the region that a major earthquake could cause considerable damage and loss of life.
In 2008, an earthquake in the Kyrgyz village of Nura near the border with China killed 74 people, at least 41 of them children.

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