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Earthquake of 6.8 magnitude hits Tajikistan

Feb 23, 2023, 08:10 am

An earthquake of 6.8 magnitude has hit eastern Tajikistan on Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake struck around 5.37 am local time at a depth of about 20.5 kilometres. 

The epicentre appeared to be in Gorno-Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous eastern region that borders Afghanistan and China, about 67 kilometres from the small mountain town of Murghob, as per AFP reports. 

A 5.0-magnitude aftershock hit the area about 20 minutes after the initial quake, followed by a 4.6-magnitude quake.

The agency estimated that ‘little or no population’ would be exposed to landslides from the earthquake.

The territory is surrounded by the towering Pamir Mountains and is home to Lake Sarez. The aquamarine-coloured body of water, formed as a result of an earthquake in 1911, is among Tajikistan's largest lakes.

Located behind Lake Sarez is a natural dam deep in the Pamir mountains, and experts have warned the consequences will be catastrophic if the dam is breached.

Tajikistan is highly prone to natural disasters and has a long history of floods, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and heavy snowfalls.

Earlier this month, nine people died in a February 15 avalanche in Gorno-Badakhshan, while another person was killed the same day in an avalanche on a highway near the capital Dushanbe.

Meanwhile, a massive earthquake killed more than 47,000 people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes in Turkey and Syria. After two weeks, the countries were again hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake which killed six people.

It was followed by 90 aftershocks, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said, adding fresh trauma to Antakya residents left homeless and living in tents by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on February 6.

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