A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas on Monday, leaving at least 130 dead and scores injured due to building collapses, landslides and stampedes.
The death toll could climb in coming days because communications are down in much of the remote mountainous region.
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 quake, according to analyst Faheem Zaman.
The earthquake in 2005 was at a depth of 26 km, while today’s earthquake was at a depth of 212.5 km.
- 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
- Emergency numbers for Peshawar 091921302 and 091921138
Over 100 dead across Pakistan
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata 121
- Punjab 5
- Azad Jammu Kashmir 1
- Gilgit Balitistan 3
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.
The prime minister has contacted Governor KP and has directed him to mobilise tribal administration immediately for relief, rescue and damage assessment in the affected regions.
On the directions of the PM a crisis cell has also been formed to coordinate with all federal, civil, military and provincial agencies for damage assessment and rescue and relief efforts. The cell will work round the clock.
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.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif is enroute to Peshawar, to personally supervise rescue and relief efforts.
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.