Two earthquakes hit the island of Sakhalin in Russia's far east on Thursday killing at least two people and triggering small tsunami waves on Japan's coast, officials said.
Russian authorities declared a state of emergency in the western part of the island as aftershocks continued to shake the region, causing extensive damage to buildings, Russia's emergency situations ministry said.
The worst-hit population centre in Sakhalin was Nevelsk, a town of 50,000 people in the western part of the island. Thousands of residents were evacuated and officials said 400 tents were to be sent to the town on Thursday.
"Residential homes and factories have been damaged, the power supply has been cut. The city's cultural centre was partly destroyed. Dead and injured have been found in the ruins," Vladimir Pak, the town's mayor, told AFP.
Two women died in the collapse of the cultural centre, officials said.
The first earthquake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale and its epicentre was off the west coast of Sakhalin. The second struck almost three hours later and measured 6.1, officials said.
Strong earthquakes are common around the energy-rich island, which is located seven time zones east of Moscow and only a few dozen kilometres (miles) from Japanese shores.
Damage is usually limited because the area is sparsely populated.
Shortly after the first earthquake struck, authorities in Japan issued a warning that a small tsunami could hit the coast of the northern island of Hokkaido, where the quake was felt.
In Japan, officials on Hokkaido said they observed tsunami waves of about 20 centimetres (eight inches). Minutes after the meteorological agency lifted its warning, the second quake hit.
It was not immediately clear whether the second quake caused seismic waves.
Last Mod: 02 Ağustos 2007, 12:40