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Avalanches Plague Central Asia

(RFE/RL) 28 January 2006 -- Kyrgyzstan has declared a state of emergency in many regions of the country after three days of heavy snow left at least four people dead and blocked the country's main highway connecting the capital, Bishkek, to southern areas of the country.

Kyrgyzstan's Ecology and Emergency Situations Ministry said four people were killed in an avalanche near the southern town of Kara-Kulja.

The ministry also reported a magnitude five earthquake hit the country's southern Alai region earlier on 28 January.

Uzbek authorities said an avalanche near the strategic Kamchik pass has blocked the road connecting most of Uzbekistan to the Fergana Valley area.

In Tajikistan, more than 100 avalanches hit the Pamir Mountains area in the last 24 hours, leaving at least one person dead, and blocking all roads leading to the southeastern Khorog region.

Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Makhmadullo Khalimov described the avalanches as "gigantic," and said they dumped more than 1 meter of snow on roads and buildings in the eastern part of the country.

Another deputy emergency situations minister, Abdurakhim Rajabov, said earthquakes during January damaged more than 480 homes and completely destroyed 95 other houses in the Baljuvan district, east of Dushanbe.


Central Asia In Focus

Central Asia In Focus

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