An earthquake in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan has destroyed hundreds of homes, leaving some 10,000 people without shelter in the dead of winter, officials said on Sunday.
"According to preliminary information, 300 houses have been destroyed," a regional spokesman for the country's Civil Defense Committee responsible for the affected area told AFP. Officials said scores of other homes were damaged.
According to the spokesman, two schools, a clinic and a power line had also been destroyed.
The spokesman reported no deaths but said dozens of sheep and goats were killed in the earthquake that struck around ten high-altitude villages in the Pamir mountains in eastern Tajikistan on Saturday.
The US Geological Survey reported that a 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck 235 km (145 miles) east of the Tajik capital Dushanbe at 07:15 a.m. (0215 GMT) on Saturday. It had a depth of 44.5 km (27.7 miles), the survey said.
Authorities said they were assessing damages, but their work was complicated by the location of the destroyed villages. More than 25,000 people live in the affected area, the Vanj district.
The deputy head of the district, Azimjon Shamsiddinov, told AFP preliminary damage estimates were between one million and 1.5 million dollars.
Earthquakes are relatively frequent in Tajikistan, an impoverished Central Asian state bordering war-torn Afghanistan.