SRINAGAR – Scores of people were killed and hundreds others injured in Mirpur district of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday after a 5.8-magnitude quake jolted Kashmir on both sides of the divide and several cities in the northern parts of India and Pakistan.
According to US Geological Survey, the epicentre of quake was near New Mirpur on Pakistani side of Kashmir.
Pakistan Meteorological Department’s earthquake centre said the 5.8-magnitude earthquake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in Punjab province. Its depth was at 10 kilometres. However, Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry said that the intensity of the quake was 7.1.
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 Pakistani part of Kashmir.
TV 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 buildings, eyewitnesses said.
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, upper Jhelum canal was damaged and water inundated various villages.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed “immediate rescue operation in aid of civil administration” for victims of earthquake in Kashmir. Army troops with aviation and medical support teams have been dispatched, the media wing of the army tweeted.
Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said that most of the damage was done in Mirpur and Jhelum.
“We are assessing the damage to life and property,” he said.
Several cities including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Skardu, Kohat, Charsadda, Kasur, Faisalabad, Gujarat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock and Jhang felt the tremor.
Quake jolts north India
A high magnitude earthquake with its epicentre near Indo-Pak border shook Srinagar and northern states on Tuesday, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said.
There was no immediate report of any loss of life or property due to the quake which occurred at 4.33 pm along the Jammu and Kashmir region, officials said.
“The epicentre was near the India-Pakistan border. The closest big city to the epicentre is Rawalpindi (in Pakistan’s Punjab province),” said J L Gautam, head of operations at the NCS.
People rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
“I was preparing for my semester examination when I suddenly felt my chair and table shaking. I immediately ran outside,” said a 15-year-old student who resides on the 11th floor of a building in Zirakpur in Punjab on the outskirts of Chandigarh.
Tremors were also felt in Shimla, Mandi, Kangra, Una and other parts of Himachal Pradesh.
However, there was considerable damage in Mirpur in Pakistani side of Kashmir. A woman was killed and around 50 people were injured there after a building collapsed due to the quake. Parts of a mosque also caved in.