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VLADIVOSTOK, February 21 (Itar-Tass) — 5.5 magnitude earthquake may occur in southern Sakhalin before March 10, the press service of the Emergency Situations Ministry's department for the Sakhalin region reported.
The island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Ridge are located in a high seismicity zone, and the possibility of a powerful earthquake on these islands is higher than in many other regions of the Russian Federation. Scientists are yet unable to accurately predict the date and time of the earthquake, but they have concluded that "in the period to March 10, there is a possibility of a perceptible earthquake of magnitude 5.5, with the epicenter in the southern part of Sakhalin."
Earth tremors do not normally lead to catastrophic destruction. However, Sakhalin has launched an inspection of means and resources in the municipalities with the view of response preparation to the aftermath of the earthquake.
Efforts are underway to specify a plan of actions to eliminate the aftermath and ensure the vital functions of the population.
The authorities are also checking the warehouses of material reserves to be used in contingencies.
The last powerful earthquake on Sakhalin, which measures 6.5 to 7.0 on the Richter scale was registered on August 2, 2007. The epicenter was in the town of Nevelsk, where 160 houses were fully ruined or damaged. They all had to be pulled down and new houses were built in their place capable of resisting eathquake of 9 magnitude. Such powerful tremors can happen once in a thousand years, seismologists said.