14 October 2005

More Central Asian Earthquakes

Several Central Asian capitals (or what are capitals now) have been hit by large earthquakes. I mentioned the one near Bishkek, but Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan both had significant parts of their capitals destroyed in the last 60 years.

Ashgabat in Turkmenistan was hit on October 6, 1948 by an estimated 7.5 magnitude earthquake that killed as many as 110,000 people. It took the Soviets five years to clear everything out. Tashkent, Uzbekistan has much of its old city destroyed in 1966 by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake. Luckily, that one only killed around 200 people.

These tables (pre-1900 and post-1900) list a number of Central Asian earthquakes. They're not necessarily very accurate or complete, but the best I could find.

What worries me most is that earthquake education doesn't seem to be a high priority here. A well-educated woman living in Bishkek was telling me a few days ago that earthquakes only happen in southern Kyrgyzstan and there is nothing to worry about in northern KG. Maybe she was just trying to reassure me, but if people in Bishkek really don't know an earthquake could happen here, that's not a very good sign.


  1. Amira, are you keeping extra water on hand? That seems to be the most necessary immediate need in disasters.

  2. We do have some, but not enough yet. If something happens, the Embassy will get us out. If something really bad happens and the Embassy can't get us out, well, it probably doesn't matter what we have around.

  3. I have noticed from the recent disasters, say the last four years, that the first immediate need is water. In this I think you could use the 72 hour thing. I think the Red Cross and other relief agencies get there usually within that time with water and the most necessary things for survival.

    Just water. Just have some extra water.

    I say the same thing to my friend who lives in Las Vegas. She laughs at me, but she has put a little bottled water aside. If everybody did this, I think a lot of problems could be averted when these disasters strike.