A strong earthquake strikes Tajikistan near the border with China

DUSHANBE (Reuters) – A 6.8-magnitude earthquake jolted eastern Tajikistan at 5:37 a.m. (0037 GMT) on Thursday and was felt by residents of China and other neighboring countries, Tajik authorities said.

The quake hit the mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, which was hit earlier this month by a series of deadly avalanches. Although it has a small population, it is home to a large lake, Sarez, which if disturbed can flood a vast area spanning several countries.

Tajik authorities said there was no indication that the lake was disturbed by the quake.

The epicenter was about 82 kilometers (50.95 miles) from the nearest border with China. The quake was strongly felt in some areas in western China’s Xinjiang region, including Kashgar and Artox, China’s CCTV reported, with a magnitude of 7.2.

In the neighboring Roshon district of Gorno Badakhshan, a local resident said that many people rushed outside after being awakened by the earthquake, which was followed by at least two aftershocks.

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There were no reports of casualties either in Tajikistan or in China. Xinhua news agency reported that power supplies and communications remained normal in Kashgar.

State media said that the Xinjiang Railway Administration has called for the suspension of passenger trains operating in the Aksu district to the Kashgar section of the Xinjiang Southern Railway.

Surveillance cameras said local authorities were checking bridges, tunnels and signaling devices.

Covering by Nazarali Burnazarov and the Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Stephen Coates and Emilia Sithole Mataris

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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