INTERNATIONAL

14 killed in Central Asia quake

A powerful earthquake killed at least 14 people in a heavily populated valley in Central Asia early on Wednesday, emergency officials said.

Almost all the casualties were in Uzbekistan, where officials confirmed 13 deaths.

The magnitude-6.1 temblor centred in Kyrgyzstan hit shortly after midnight in a mountainous area some 35 km away from the eastern Uzbek city of Ferghana, which has a population of more than 200,000. So far, no deaths have been reported in Kyrgyzstan itself. Uzbekistan's Emergency Services Ministry said of the 86 people being treated for injuries, 35 have been hospitalised.

Quakes are a relatively frequent occurrence in this region of former Soviet Central Asia. A 6.6-magnitude quake near Kyrgyzstan's borders with Tajikistan and China flattened the remote mountain village of Nura in July 2008, killing at least 74 people. — AP