7.5 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE ROCKS PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN; SCORES KILLED

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earthquake

Agencies & Dawn

ISLAMABAD –– A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas, and Afghanistan on Monday, leaving at least 89 dead and scores injured due to roof and building collapses.

The earthquake struck the region at 2:09pm today (Monday).

Forty minutes after the first earthquake, an aftershock of 4.8 magnitude was reported in the same area. Aftershocks are expected to continue in the affected areas.

The magnitude of today’s earthquake is close to the previous earthquake of 2005, but the destruction was more widespread then due to the shallow epicentre of the earthquake.

The earthquake in 2005 was at a depth of 26 km, while today’s earthquake was at a depth of 212.5 km, according to analyst Faheem Zaman.


Major updates

  • Epicentre reported as Hindu Kush mountain range
  • Casualties reported in Swat, Bajaur Agency, Kallar Kahar, Sargodha, Kasur
  • Communications services disrupted in Islamabad, Peshawar
  • Tremors in felt in Delhi, Kabul

Authorities in Peshawar have provided the following numbers for the victims:

091921302 and 091921138

52 dead across Pakistan

Atleast 18 people were killed in Peshawar city, according to PTI leader Mushtaq Ghani.

Eight people, including women and children, were killed in Swat, while four people were killed in the Bajaur tribal region after buildings collapsed in the area.

Paramedics treat a man injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. -AFP
Paramedics treat a man injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. -AFP

An eight-year-old child was killed in Kallar Kahar, whereas one casualty was also reported from Kasur after the roof of a house collapsed.

A 14-year-old child died in the Islamgarh area of Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Mirpur region after a school wall collapsed.

A wall collapsed in Sargodha, killing one woman and injuring 10 people, while three are injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

13 people were killed in Chitral, which is closest to the epicentre of the earthquake. A child has reportedly died a the roof of a house collapsed in Raja Bazaar area of Rawalpindi.

One child was killed after the wall of a school collapsed in Miani Adda area of Punjab’s Chakwal district. Three people will reported killed in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Several landslides have been reported in mountainous areas of the country, leading to fears that the death toll may increase.

Scores injured

At least 194 injured were brought to Swat’s Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital, which does not have adequate medical facilities.

More than 100 wounded have been admitted to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

Tremors have been felt in major cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Kohat and Malakand.

Rescue 1122 has been put on high alert in Punjab. The disaster response force is on standby and a code red has been imposed, Director General Rescue Punjab Retd Brig Dr Ashraf Zia said. Rescue 1122 Spokesman Jam Sajjad said there were no reports of any deaths in Lahore.

Communication services have been disrupted in Islamabad, where walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Holy Quran.

A building has also reportedly collapsed in Peshawar. Several mud huts collapsed in Balochistan’s Zhob district.

Citizens took to social media to post reports of the massive quake that lasted for up to one minute.

Tremors were also felt in Kabul and New Delhi.

The full extent of the damage and the number of possible casualties is not yet known.

7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) initially measured the quake’s intensity at 7.7 then revised it down to 7.6 and later to 7.5.

Map showing the epicentre of the quake. ─ USGS

Map showing the epicentre of the quake. ─ USGS

Vineet Gahlot, the director of seismology at the Indian Meteorological Department, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.7 and an epicentre deep in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Pakistan state TV reported the same magnitude.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department, however, said the magnitude of the earthquake was 8.1.

The quake was 196km deep and centred 82km southeast of Feyzabad in a remote area of Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

According to USGS, the epicentre is 67km from Chitral.

Rescue operation

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all federal, civil, military and provincial agencies to declare an immediate alert and mobilise all resources to ensure the security of citizens of Pakistan. All agencies have been directed to move out with their resources.

The premier has also directed Governor Gilgit Baltistan to immediately reach Gilgit and take charge of rescue and relief efforts in the region.

Joint Secretary Prime Minister Office Kazim Niaz will head crisis management cell at Prime Minister Office. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), respective Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Inter-Servies Publis Relations (ISPR) and Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

Authority (Erra) will be part of the crisis management cell.

President Mamnoon Hussain has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the natural calamity.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has directed army personnel to reach out where required to help affected people without waiting for orders.

Pakistan and the region, along an active continental plate boundary, is often hit by earthquakes. In September 2013, a magnitude-7.7 quake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province, killing around 800 people. In 2005, the country was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless.

Afghanistan and India

Afghanistan’s CEO Abdullah Abdullah said reports of damage and injuries were coming in from Afghanistan’s northeast.

According initial reports, 15 people have been killed in Afghanistan.

 

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