23 dead, more than 300 injured as 5.6-magnitude quake rocks northern Pakistan

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 5.6 shook several cities and parts of the north of the country on Tuesday afternoon, leaving at least 23 dead and more than 300 injured, authorities said. At least 100 of the injured are in critical condition.

The tremors lasted 8 to 10 seconds and felt strongly. DawnNewsTV reported.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is currently in the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly, has expressed his pain at the loss of human lives. Both he and the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, have issued directives to civil and military agencies for rescue and emergency relief efforts.

The epicenter of the shallow earthquake, which occurred just after 4 p.m., was near the Azad Kashmir city of Mirpur, approximately 20 kilometers north of Jhelum in Punjab, according to data published by the US Geological Survey. UU.

“The earthquake was 10 kilometers deep and was felt in most of the province of Punjab and in some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The worst blow was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, "said chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz AFP.

Other cities where tremors were felt include Islamabad, Mirpur, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sialkot, Sargodha, Mansehra, Gujrat, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Bajaur, Swat, Sahiwal and Rahim Yar Khan.

A road badly damaged by the earthquake in Mirpur. – DawnNewsTV

Mirpur Deputy Inspector General of Police Sardar Gulfraz Khan said at least 23 people, three of them young children, were killed and more than 300 were injured due to the earthquake. The casualties were moved to the headquarters of the Mirpur Hospital division. At least 10 people died alone in the village of Jatlan.

Mirpur's division commissioner, Chaudhry Muhammad Tayyab, said that among people who are treated for their injuries, at least 35 have suffered critical injuries. The head of the National Disaster Management Authority then calculated the number of critical injuries at around 100.

According to the head of the NDMA, the nearby Mangla Dam, one of the country's two main water reservoirs, was not affected by the earthquake.

Earlier, AJK Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, Chaudhry Mohammad Saeed, had said Dawn that a state of emergency had been declared in state and private hospitals in Mirpur.

Saeed, who had returned from the city of Mirpur, said most of the wounded were from the outskirts of Mirpur, such as Afzalpur, Jatlan and New City.

"People panicked at first, but gradually they began to adapt to the situation," he added.

He revealed that pharmacies in Mirpur are offering free medicines to victims, in a gesture of humanity.

AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, who was in Lahore since Monday to attend events related to Kashmir, interrupted his visit and rushed to Mirpur "to oversee rescue, relief and rehabilitation services," his office said. a statement.

"The prime minister has ordered all government departments not to leave any stone unturned to help the victims of this […] natural disaster, "the statement said.

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Photos and videos broadcast on television channels showed dozens of collapsed buildings and houses, uprooted trees and cracks in roads large enough to swallow cars in Mirpur.

The images show damages on a road in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir.

Muhammad Safdar, 60, who lives near Mirpur, said he was at home when he suddenly began to shake.
"We saw walls and the roof developing cracks and ceiling fans and other items falling, and we went out into the open," he said. Reuters by phone. "I've never seen such a devastating earthquake in this area in my life."

Ramzan Ahmad, 65, who suffered a head injury and a bleeding nose, said he was with his family of seven when his house collapsed.

"We all had injuries," he said. "I saw dozens of houses razed on my way to the hospital."

Mirpur, a city known for its palatial houses, has strong ties with Britain, with the majority of its 450,000 residents carrying British and Pakistani passports.

A spokeswoman for the British High Commission said AFP They were monitoring the reports, while the US embassy offered its condolences to those affected through Twitter.

Tremors in India

The tremors felt until New Delhi, while the Press Trust of India they reported that people in panic ran out of their homes and offices in panic in several places, including Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. According to Indian DNA, the earthquake was also felt in parts of Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh occupied by the Indians.

"The earthquake was felt but there are no reports of damage," said Amir Ali, of the disaster management department in occupied Kashmir. AFP.

With the occupied Kashmir Internet and mobile services mostly interrupted after New Delhi stripped the region's autonomy in early August, people used social media to express their fears about not being able to get in touch with their families in the valley.

“Dear @AmitShah (Minister of Internal Affairs), please restore mobile services in Kashmir. I don't know of any updates since August 5 about my family. Now we feel very anxious for our family after the earthquake, ”tweeted Faizan Peer.

Rescue efforts

Shortly after the earthquake, the army media wing had tweeted that the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had instructed the troops to carry out an "immediate rescue operation" in aid of the civil administration for the victims .

Army troops with aviation and medical support teams have been sent to the area, according to the statement.

In a later update, Public Relations between Services said that Pakistan Army aviation helicopters had completed aerial reconnaissance for damage assessment in the Mirpur, Jarikas and Jatlan areas. Army troops have also reached these areas. "Relief and rescue efforts [are] underway, "he added.

Prime Minister Imran, in a statement from New York, "expressed deep sadness over the damage and loss of precious lives" caused by the earthquake.

People stand outside a building in Lahore after the earthquake. – DawnNewsTV

The prime minister also instructed the relevant departments to provide all possible relief assistance in disaster-affected areas.

The National Disaster Management Authority was also instructed to accelerate its relief operations in all areas affected by the earthquake.

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A Wapda spokesman said the Mangla dam and its power have not suffered any damage in the earthquake.

"A team of experts came to the site to conduct a detailed damage assessment and prepare a report. Meanwhile, they declared the site safe and reported no damage." DawnNewsTV He quoted him saying.

According to the spokesman, the earthquake caused the contamination of the turbine water, so it was cut.

The power generation will resume as soon as the water and turbines are cleaned, he said.

Vulnerability of Pakistan

Pakistan extends to both sides of the border where the tectonic plates of India and Eurasia meet, which makes the country particularly susceptible to earthquakes.

In October 2015, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan and Afghanistan had killed almost 400 people, crushing buildings on rough terrain, which prevented relief efforts.

The country was also hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 on October 8, 2005, which killed more than 73,000 people and left some 3.5 million people homeless, mainly in AJK.

Social Network Updates

People from the capital and other cities turned to social networks to share how they experienced the earthquake.


With additional reports of Sanaullah Khan in Islamabad and Adnan Sheikh in Lahore.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1507105/23-dead-more-than-300-injured-as-56-magnitude-quake-rocks-northern-pakistan

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