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Earthquake strikes Russia’s Sakhalin island

At least two people have been killed and several seriously injured in an earthquake, measuring 6.6 of the richter scale, which struck the southern part of Sakhalin island in Russia's far east.

According to emergencies services, several buildings were damaged and power supplies partially disrupted.

Residents have been evacuated from the affected area.

There have also been reports of a second quake in the area – in the sea to the west of Sakhalin Island and measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale.

A state of emergency has been declared and according to scientists, tremors could last throughout the night.

“An Emergencies Ministry task force and a team of paramedics have set off to the quake-hit area. Twenty rescuers and 40 firefighters are already working at the scene,” commented Oleg Shekhovtsev, local Emergencies Ministry.

A tsunami warning issued for Japan's island of Hokkaido has been lifted.

Aleksey Ivashchenko, a seismologist from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow pointed out that “the scientists in Japan, the U.S., Russia, China and other countries continue to study different methods to issue such warnings against earthquakes but currently we are able to make long-term predictions only. We can predict the region of possible earthquake, its scale but not the exact timing.”