A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Monday evening on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), which estimated it could have caused casualties and extensive damage.
The quake was recorded shortly after 2am Tuesday (6pm GMT Monday), at a depth of 27 kilometers in China's Xinjiang region, about 140 kilometers west of the city of Aksu.
The tremors were felt by the residents of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, according to the authorities of these two Central Asian countries, but no injuries or major destruction have been reported so far.
“No injuries or damage have been reported so far” in the affected areas, Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Emergency Situations, Bobek Ajikiv, said in a video clip, calling on residents “not to panic.”
He added that some areas of the Issyk-Kul region in the east of the country felt “particularly strong” tremors.
In Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, residents fled their homes in search of shelter in the street, according to an Agence France-Presse journalist.
She pointed out that the force of the earthquake shook the walls, and dishes and books fell while the furniture moved.
Pictures posted on social media and local media showed residents of Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, in the streets after the tremors.
Local television channels in the Indian capital, New Delhi, about 1,400 kilometers away, reported earthquakes.
The US Geological Survey added that shortly thereafter, three aftershocks measuring 5.5, 5.1 and 5.0 were recorded in the area, suggesting the possibility of casualties.
The American institute’s report says: “Significant damage is likely to occur and the disaster is likely to be widespread.”
This earthquake comes a day after a landslide that buried dozens of people and left at least eight dead in southwest China.
A major earthquake occurred last December in the northwest of the country, killing 148 people and displacing thousands in Gansu Province (northwest).
The earthquake was the deadliest in China since 2014, when more than 600 people were killed in Yunnan Province, southwest of the country.
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”