Strong earthquake jolts Uzbek capital
Sunday, 24 August 2008

REUTERS, ALMATY- A strong earthquake rattled the Uzbek capital Tashkent on Friday, rocking buildings and sending people running outdoors in fear, witnesses and the emergency ministry said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.
 
The quake hit at 1:26 p.m. (0826 GMT) just outside Tashkent, a city of two million, and registered 6.0 on a 12-level scale measuring earthquake intensity. No Richter scale figures were available.
 
"It nearly threw me off my feet," a witness told Reuters. He said he saw bricks falling from the walls of buildings and people running through the streets in confusion.
 
An emergency ministry spokesman said there were no reports of casualties or destruction.
 
The witness in Tashkent said he could see no signs of damage or fire, adding that people were returning to their homes after the initial panic abated.
 
Once an oasis town on the ancient Silk Road trading route connecting Europe with China, Tashkent is located in a seismically active part of Central Asia.
 
In 1966, many of Tashkent's ancient mosques and buildings were flattened by a 7.5 earthquake when hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless. Another quake hit in 1980, also in the village of Nazarbek but caused no serious destruction.

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