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Quake kills at least 13 in Chechnya

A strong earthquake centred in the restive Russian region of Chechnya killed at least 13 people, injured more than 100 others and caused widespread havoc, officials said.

world Updated: Oct 12, 2008 07:42 IST

A strong earthquake centred in the restive Russian region of Chechnya killed at least 13 people, injured more than 100 others and caused widespread havoc, officials said.

The quake, which struck at around yesterday noon (1330 IST), reverberated through the Caucasus mountains, causing severe damage to infrastructure including roads, power supplies and communications, Russian news agencies reported.

Measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale according to Strasbourg observatory estimates, it was felt in five regions of the Russian north Caucasus and as far away as neighbouring Georgia and Armenia.

The road infrastructure was seriously damaged across large swathes of Chechnya, the region's deputy roads minister Yakha Makhmatkhadzhieva told Interfax news agency.

"Twelve victims died in the districts of Gudermes, Shali and Kurchaloy" in eastern Chechnya, a health ministry spokesman told AFP. "It is not excluded that the toll is going to rise further," the official added.

The toll was later updated to 13 by the emergency situations ministry which said three children were among the dead.

Chechen deputy emergency situations minister Akhmed Dzheirkhanov said four corpses had been found in the Kurchaloy district and one in Gudermes.

One was a soldier who died when a wall collapsed, said the news agencies.

Some 52,000 people from three Chechen districts were left without electricity, according to the Russian emergency situations ministry, cited by Interfax.

The Russian ministry later dispatched a rescue team of several dozen people on a plane from Moscow to lead the search for survivors and coordinate the relief effort, Interfax said.