Zhambyl, Kazakhstan; 23 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- An earthquake in southern Kazakhstan overnight has killed at least three people. Officials say the earthquake measured 6.5 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was in a sparsely populated area in the southern Zhambyl region.
Reports from the area say many homes were destroyed. Nurjamal Shatkagayova, a resident of Kuandy village in Zhambyl province, told RFE/RL: "There are a lot of destroyed buildings, many people with broken arms and legs. The local hospital was destroyed completely and people are being transported to the regional center. There were reports that three people were dead, but what we at the scene are hearing relatives say is that the number of people dead is eight."
Government officials in Zhambyl have canceled all meetings and are traveling to the worst-affected areas.