ALMATY - A strong earthquake hit Central Asia's densely populated Ferghana valley early on Wednesday, shaking buildings in the region and sending residents of at least one Uzbek city onto the streets, local residents said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred 9.2 km (5.7 miles) underground, around 42 km (26 miles) southwest of Ferghana, a city in the east of Uzbekistan.

There was no immediate word on casualties and it was not clear if the epicenter of the quake was in a populated area.

A native of Ferghana, who lives in Kazakhstan, said that residents of her home city were woken by strong shaking and that many had evacuated their apartment blocks.

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