Tents delivered to earthquake victims

A 19 July earthquake measuring eight on the Richter scale in southern Kyrgyzstan has left hundreds of people without shelter.

No deaths have been reported, though two people have been hospitalized with concussion, the national Ministry for Emergency Situations (MES) said in a press release on its website.

According to MES, one power station, 1,710 residential and 85 public buildings were damaged, with over 550 of these buildings showing signs of “severe damage”. More than a third of the affected buildings are in Osh Province, but the most extensive damage occurred in Batken Province, where the quake’s epicentre was.

Some 115 tents designed to accommodate 1,350-1,450 people have been delivered to Kadamjay District, the worst hit part of Batken Province, according to the ministry. Power cuts affected 7-11 villages in the province for a while, and rocks blocked a major highway.

Media reports said most affected people were "unprepared" for the situation and it took 20 minutes for the ministry to ascertain if an earthquake had occurred before emergency sirens could be switched on to alert local citizens.

Osh, which was devastated by interethnic violence, including widespread arson a year ago, did not suffer damage from the earthquake, the epicentre of which was 125km from the city.

The quake reportedly killed at least 13 people in Uzbekistan and injured 86 others. Five of the dead were from the eastern Uzbek district of Rishton, near the Kyrgyz border. Another death was reported in Tajikistan's northern town of Khujand.

Central Asia has seen cities flattened by earthquakes in 1948 and 1966.