Tuesday’s quake is a painful reminder of a natural catastrophe which wiped out 87,000 people in the region 14 years ago on October 8, 2005.
Islamabad: At least 30 people were killed and more than 400 injured in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Pakistan and was felt in many cities of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, officials say.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake’s epicenter was close to the city of Mirpur in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir at the depth of 10 kilometres.
Tremors of the earthquake were felt in several towns in Pakistan, including Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Photos circulating on social media show a huge crack on the main road in the area, and partially destroyed houses and a hospital.
The full extent of the damage is not yet known. Thousands of people died in a powerful quake in the area in 2005.
“The quake was 10km (six miles) deep… the worst hit was Mirpur,” Pakistan’s chief meteorologist, Muhammad Riaz, told the AFP news agency.
Children are among the dead, reports say.
Watch the aftermath of the quake: https://youtu.be/2h5QyVHfWm8
The AJK information minister, Mushtaq Minhas, said that 22 people, including women and children, were killed in the earthquake, mostly due to collapsing roofs and walls.
The authorities are supplying “tents, food, and other essential items” to the affected people, Minhas said.
Raja Qaiser, a deputy commissioner, said the main road near Mirpur was badly damaged, causing accidents and damaging vehicles.
The military said “aviation and medical support” teams had been dispatched to the region.
The tremors shook walls in the capital, Islamabad, and left people standing in the streets outside, witnesses reported.
Watch destruction https://youtu.be/zhbB9sV-D5w
Soon after the earthquake struck, Twitter was filled with photographs and videos showing cracked roads and damaged vehicles in the New Mirpur city. Mirpur has suffered extensive damage, buildings have collapsed, roads have been cut in half while roofs and walls of houses have also been destroyed.
The road that collapsed due to the earthquake has fallen into the upper Jehlum river. Because of this, the water of the river has entered the surrounding residential areas.
The spillway from the Mangla Dam has been closed to cut down the flow of water in upper Jehlum river.
Pakistan’s meteorological department has warned people of aftershocks of similar intensity in the next 24 to 48 hours and has asked them to take necessary precautions.
Areas extending deeper into Kotli and Bhimber have also suffered to damages caused by the earthquake.
When quake killed over 85,000 in the same region
Tuesday’s earthquake is a painful reminder of a natural catastrophe which wiped out a sizable population in the region 14 years ago. On October 8, 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit AJK and northeastern parts of Pakistan. The epicentre was just outside Muzaffarabad, around 250km from the epicentre of Tuesday’s earthquake.
The region suffered a massive loss. The government reported toll was 87,350, out of which 19,000 were reportedly children killed while they were at school.
It is considered the deadliest earthquake to hit South Asia since 1935. The 2005 quake had also killed several thousand in India and Afghanistan.
Kashmir lies in the area of collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. The geological activity born out of this collision, also responsible for the birth of the Himalayan mountain range, is the cause of unstable seismicity in the region.
Zone-wise, Kashmir falls into the most sensitive category. Zone 5 areas like Kashmir are at the highest risk of suffering earthquakes of intensity.
–with additional reporting from AP, AFP, BBC