13 dead in Chechnya's earthquake, over 100 injured

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Moscow, Oct 12 (UNI) The death toll in Chechnya's earthquake has risen to 13 while more than 100 people have been injured, Chechen Emergencies Ministry said today.

The earthquake measuring about 5.6 points on the Richter scale had its epicentre in the Republic of Chechnya and was also felt in five Russian North Caucasus republics and neighbouring South Ossetia and Georgia, it said.

It was centred 40 km east of the Chechen capital -- Grozny. A rescue team has been sent from Moscow to coordinate the relief effort.

All the earthquake victims were in Chechnya, where some buildings had also been damaged by the tremor.

Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Eli Isayev told an emergency commission's meeting that Chechnya was seriously damaged by yesterday's earthquake and much effort was required to clear up its aftermath.

Chechen Construction Minister Akhmed Gekhayev told Interfax that he was ''in the village of Bochi-Yurt at the moment of the earthquake, and I can say that almost every house in this large village was seriously damaged.'' ''I can say for sure that over 500 houses were seriously damaged,'' Mr Gekhayev said.

''Each and every (victim) will receive the necessary help support,'' Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

''We must not forget that we have elections tomorrow. They must go ahead as a happy event for all residents of Chechnya,'' he said.

Russia's Caucasus Mountain region sees occasional earthquakes.

Most buildings are not reinforced against severe structural shocks and even small quakes can cause serious damage.

UNI XC SKB KP1726

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