ALMATY, Kazakhstan — A powerful earthquake rocked Kyrgyzstan on Sunday evening, killing at least 72 people and leveling a remote mountain village, officials said Monday.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake in Kyrgyzstan measured 6.6 and struck about 10 p.m. Sunday in the Osh region in the south of the former Soviet Central Asian republic.
On Monday, an earthquake of the same magnitude hit Tibet, a remote mountainous region of China, state news media reported. They reduced an earlier estimate of at least 30 killed to 9.
The quake was centered about 50 miles west of the regional capital, Lhasa, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
An earthquake on May 12 devastated part of Sichuan Province, near Tibet, killing 70,000 people.
The quake in Kyrgyzstan flattened Nura, a town of some 960 residents and 400 houses near the Chinese border.
“The picture we saw was frightening. The village of Nura is fully destroyed, 100 percent,” said Emergency Situations Minister Kamchybek Tashiyev, according to The Associated Press.
Rescuers were racing to the isolated village. Victims were transported by helicopter to the city of Osh, 140 miles away. The death toll could rise, officials said.
Kyrgyzstan is a destitute, landlocked mountainous nation of around five million people, which borders China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Central Asia is a highly active seismic region and has been shaken by numerous significant earthquakes in recent years.
In 2003, a quake with a magnitude of 6.8 jolted northwest China near the Kyrgyz border, killing 268 people and destroying more than 20,000 buildings.
Kyrgyzstan hosts a Russian air base, as well as a NATO base used for supply operations in nearby Afghanistan. In 2005, President Askar Akayev was deposed in a popular uprising and replaced by Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
abstract from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/world/asia/07quake.html?em