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Quake-hit Khakasia, Buryatia complete evacuation of miners

December 28, 2011, 10:28 UTC+3

According to preliminary information, there were no casualties or damage

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MOSCOW, December 28 (Itar-Tass) — The authorities of a number of Siberian regions scrambled to take urgent measures after an unprecedented earthquake of force 9.5 on Richter scale. Ground tremors were felt in Tuva, Khakasia, the Kranoyarsk Territory and the Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk and Tomsk regions.

According to preliminary information, there were no casualties or damage, and thermal and energy facilities continuing to operate in normal mode.

However, Tuva introduced a state of emergency from Wednesday, head of the republic Sholban Kara-ool stated.

He decided to allocate funds from the reserve fund to eliminate the aftermath of the earthquake. Inter-departmental working groups will inspect social infrastructure facilities, bridges, roads, transmission lines and apartment houses.

Deputy head of the Tuva premier's office Gennady Kuular, who supervises work with municipalities, said residents of Kyzyl and central districts of the republic had found small cracks on walls, smashed dishes and damaged furniture in their apartments in the morning.

"Further checks will show how serious the reports are," Kuular said.

Director of the Tyvaenergo electric utility Vadim Peshkurov said 16 of 40 electric substations had been checked overnight. Power cutoffs were reported in the villages of Erzhei and Sizim, Kaa-Khemsky district, which are close to the epicenter of the earthquake.

Repairs continue in the area. Director of the Kyzyl thermal power plant Andrei Trotsan stated the facility had operated without interruptions at night and in the morning. Trotsan promised a thorough check.

Mobile groups were set up in Tuva to monitor the situation elsewhere in the republic, as well as in Kyzyl's neighborhoods.

The Emergency Situations Ministry is forming a group of 100 rescuers there which will make camp for a population of 400.

Classes at all the 173 schools were canceled and the schools themselves might be used to accommodate the population, following Kyzyl's suit on Tuesday night, Deputy Tuva Education Minister Nikita Kuular said.

First Deputy Prime Minister of Tuva Artur Mongal said there were no particular reasons to panic, yet all the security measures had to be observed.

The evacuation of miners in Khakasia has already finished, following the Tuva quake. The Kemerovo region will complete the evacuation shortly, and in Buryatia, evacuation has ended, too.

A crisis headquarters was set up by the Emergency Situations Ministry's department in Buryatia. It is interacting with the administrations of the Tunkinsky and Okinsky districts /the latter borders on Tuva/, and has checked the key social infrastructure facilities.

Khakasia leader Viktor Zimin, who had been on a working trip to Moscow, flew to Abakan on Tuesday. The crisis headquarters includes senior government officials and heads of executive bodies. The Emergency Situations Ministry's units in Khakasia are on standby. A centralized regional warning system has been activated to advise the population about possible repeat tremors. The population was urged to remain calm and watch for news reports. Local television companies run live interviews with the mayors of Abakan and Sayanoborsk and representatives of the regional administration.


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