ISLAMABAD: A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas, on Monday, leaving at least 16 dead and scores injured due to roof and building collapses.
Forty minutes after the first earthquake, another 4.8 magnitude tremor was reported in the same area.
- 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
16 killed across Pakistan
Six people, including children, were killed in Swat, while four people were killed in the Bajaur tribal region after the collapse of buildings in the area.
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.
Two people were killed in Chitral.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An Abbottabad resident, Shoaib, told Dawn.com the earthquake triggered landslides in the area.
In pictures shared by Islamabad residents on Twitter, people are seen standing on roads after feeling tremors.
─ This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.