Workers have recovered more than 100 bodies from one of several villages buried in landslides unleashed by Monday's earthquake in the southern republic of Tadzhikistan that killed up to 1,000 people, Tass said Tuesday.
Mild temperatures were melting a recent heavy snowfall, creating the danger of further landslides in the stricken region near the Afghan border and hampering relief efforts, the official news agency said.The earthquake, measuring 5.4 on the open-ended Richter scale, jarred tons of earth loose from mountainsides, and the mud and sand smashed through a string of farming villages, killing an estimated 1,000 people, Tass said.
Sharora, once a village of 600 people some 30 miles southwest of Dushanbe, the capital of Tadzhikistan, was buried under 50 feet of mud and earth.
Tass said rescuers, using their bare hands and earth movers, recovered more than 100 bodies from Sharora and had found one survivor, but hope was fading for others. Tass identified the survivor as Sergei Muratov, 27, and said he was in critical condition in Central Gissar hospital.
The report said the village's 54 buildings had vanished under the mud. Many housed farming families of 15 people or more.
Other villages were still cut off from rescue efforts Tuesday and the mudslides have contaminated wells and springs, creating a shortage of drinking water, relief officials said. Attempts to bring fresh water in by truck were being hampered by blocked roads in the mountainous region.
In Armenia, some 1,200 miles to the west and the scene of the December earthquake that left nearly 25,000 dead, a tremor measuring 6 on the 12-point scale used in the Soviet Union again shook the ground at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Tass said.
The tremor, near the devastated Armenian town of Kirovakan, had been expected because of an increase in seismic activity in the region, the news agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Reports of the damage at Sharora were reminiscent of rescue efforts in Armenia less than 2 months ago.
"Cries and wails can be heard everywhere. Some are lamenting and burying their relatives while others try to find the few survivors beneath the thick layer of sand and clay," Tass said.