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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sakhalin Quake Leaves 2,000 in Tents

Itar-TassApartment buildings lying in ruin in the city of Nevelsk on Sakhalin island after two earthquakes struck on Thursday.
About 2,000 people in a Far East fishing town have moved into temporary tent camps after a powerful quake hit near Sakhalin island, killing two people, injuring 12 and leaving apartment buildings in ruins, officials said Friday.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4, struck on Thursday on the southern tip of Sakhalin, just north of Japan, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. A second quake of magnitude 5.9 struck a few hours later.

The worst hit was the port town of Nevelsk, home to 17,300 people. One woman died when the roof of the town's Palace of Culture collapsed. A man there died of a heart attack. Twelve people remained hospitalized Friday, Sakhalin regional emergency agency spokeswoman Olga Shekhovtseva said.

Tent camps were set up for about 2,000 people forced to move out of 31 apartment buildings that were badly damaged, some of them beyond repair, Shekhovtseva said. About 200 children were sent away to summer camps.

Inspectors found that at least 11 buildings with 410 apartments were destroyed, Sakhalin Governor Ivan Malakhov said. He said another 20 buildings containing 710 apartments needed major renovations.

"It is either impossible or dangerous to live there before they are repaired," Malakhov told journalists in Nevelsk, Interfax reported.

The spokeswoman said there was no panic in the town, where tremors are not unusual.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu was commanding the efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and resettle the people on Sunday.

The minister chaired a meeting of local officials Sunday, and tasked the Nevelsk administration with resettling all those who lost their homes to dwellings "with normal conditions" by the end of this week. (AP, Reuters)