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26 Killed, Over 300 Injured after Earthquake Rocks North Pakistan, Tremors Felt in Parts of India

While no casualties were reported on this side of the border, people rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

News18.com

Updated:September 25, 2019, 12:01 AM IST
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26 Killed, Over 300 Injured after Earthquake Rocks North Pakistan, Tremors Felt in Parts of India
A view of damaged roads after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.

New Delhi: At least 26 people were killed and more than 300 injured after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake jolted several cities in the northern parts of Pakistan, including capital Islamabad, on Tuesday. The tremors were felt in parts of India like Delhi and NCR region, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Kashmir.

According to the Home Department, 26 people were killed and over 300 injured in Mirpur and surrounding areas due to the powerful quake.

The quake struck 23 km north of Jhelum in Pakistan at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported, adding that the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.8 on the Richter scale. Jhelum is located in northeastern Pakistan roughly 120 km southeast of Islamabad. Mirpur is on Pakistan's side of the disputed territory of Kashmir.

"The epicentre was near the India-Pakistan border. The closest big city to the epicentre is Rawalpindi (in Pakistan's Punjab province)," said JL Gautam, head of operations at the National Centre for Seismology (NCS).

While no casualties were reported on this side of the border, people rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

"The (most) damage is in areas between Jhelum and Mirpur," said the chief of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, Lieutenant General Mohammad Afzal. "So far we have reports of the death of a girl child and injuries to nearly 50 people."

Some houses collapsed in Mirpur following the earthquake, Deputy Commissioner Raja Qaiser said. Parts of a mosque also collapsed in the area, which is severely affected by the quake. Emergency has been declared in hospitals across the region.

Television channels showed the footage of heavily damaged roads in Mirpur, with many vehicles overturned. Several cars fell into the deep cracks on the roads. The quake was powerful and created panic as people ran out of building, eyewitnesses said.

Several cities, including Skardu, Kohat, Charsadda, Kasur, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock and Jhang, felt the tremors.

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed "immediate rescue operation in aid of civil administration" for victims of the earthquake. Army troops with aviation and medical support teams have been dispatched, the media wing of the army tweeted.

Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said most of the damage was done in Mirpur and Jhelum. "We are assessing the damage to life and property," he said, adding that all departments, including the NDMA, Pakistan Army, and State Disaster Management have started rescue operation in quake-affected areas.

"Pakistan Army aviation helicopters have completed aerial survey for damage assessment in Mirpur, Jarikas and Jatlan areas. Army teams have reached earthquake-hit areas of Mirpur, Jatlan and Jarikas. Rescue efforts initiated," state-run PTV said in a tweet.

Afzal said Mangla to Jatalan road and three bridges were damaged in the quake. "We have enough resources to cope with the disaster," he said, adding that the exact magnitude of the disaster will be known by Wednesday.

Pakistan's major water reservoir Mangla Dam located near Mirpur remained safe, officials said. Mangla dam power house has been closed, cutting off 900 MW power supply to the national grid, they said.

However, the Upper Jhelum canal was damaged and water inundated various villages. The breach in the Upper Jhelum Canal was fixed due to timely intervention of officials, Minhas said.

In 2005, a powerful quake killed nearly 90,000 people in PoK and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

(With inputs from agencies)

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