Rescuers struggled Tuesday to unearth survivors from collapsed buildings and rock slides after an earthquake in Soviet Georgia left at least 100 people dead, leveling at least one village and trapping about 30 miners.
Tedo Badeshvili, chairman of the foreign relations committee of the southern republic's legislature, said 1,000 people were injured in Monday's quake. The Soviet Red Cross reported 257 people hurt.Badeshvili said he feared the casualty toll would climb as rescuers discover more bodies and reports filter back from communities cut off from the outside world.
Rescuers were not expected to arrive until late Tuesday at the Barital barium mine high in the Caucasus Mountains near the quake's epicenter, where the national labor newspaper Trud said 30 miners were trapped underground. It was not known whether they were still alive.
The earthquake struck at 12:13 p.m. (3:13 a.m. MDT) in mountainous north-central Georgia among sparsely populated villages and towns and measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was near 11,363-foot Mount Samertskhie.
The Institute of Physics and Earth Sciences said the earthquake was felt throughout much of the Caucasus. The "seismic focus center," or the hardest hit area, was about 24 square miles, said spokesman Sergei Orefyev.
Aftershocks continued throughout the day Monday, and a Soviet television camera even captured one strong aftershock collapsing an already severely damaged building.
A regional police spokesman, Zurab Kadzhaya, said Tuesday that a survey of the stricken region by helicopter found the village of Khakhieti to be leveled, although the extent of casualties was unclear.
Eighty percent of the buildings were damaged in Dzhava, a mountain town of 11,000 people near the quake's epicenter, Kadzhaya said by telephone from Kutaisi, a nearby city of 235,000.
He said about 75 percent of the buildings were damaged in the towns of Ambrolauri, Oni and Sachkhere - all of which are within about 40 miles of Dzhava. Deputy Health Minister Merab Kvitashvili said 80 percent of buildings in the region were destroyed.
Both Badeshvili and Kadzhaya put the death toll at 100.
"So far, we have only preliminary information, but it's alarming," Khuja Khundadze, press spokesman for the Georgian legislature, told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
In a report from Dzhava, Soviet television showed several collapsed buildings and others with gaping holes. Rescuersstanding atop a mound of rubble dug hurriedly with their hands to remove huge stones.
The independent Interfax news agency said that among the buildings destroyed in Dzhava, were a kindergarten, a high school, a hospital and a printing house, in addition to 30 homes.
Dzhava is about 60 miles northwest of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and about the same distance east of Kutaisi.
Monday night's "Vremya" television news program showed rescuers pulling an injured woman from a severely damaged building in Dzhava. Another woman sat stunned outside a shattered house with her arm in a sling.
Soviet Interior Ministry troops already in the region to quell ethnic unrest were ordered to the disaster area to aid in rescue efforts.
Residents of Tbilisi said damage there appeared to be limited to cracked walls. Rocks cascaded off mountainsides onto houses in the stricken area, and Sachkhere's railroad station was reported badly damaged.