"According to the latest figures, 70 people died in the south, more than 80 need urgent hospitalization and 128 houses were destroyed," Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Turatbek Dzhunuchaliyev said in a press conference.
Seismologists in the
Destruction was concentrated in Nura, a village of 950 residents close to
Officials said rescue efforts were being hampered by the remoteness of the village and a lack of telephone ties with it.
"Efforts to assist the victims are being complicated by the distance of the villages... from hospitals, by a lack of communications and by the destruction of the roads," said health ministry official Dinara Sagynbayeva.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter of the earthquake was 60 kilometers (35 miles) east-southeast of Sary-Tash at a depth of 27.6 kilometers (17.2 miles).
An aftershock of magnitude 5.1 hit the region just over two hours later at 12:27 am Monday (1827 GMT Sunday), the USGS said.