A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas on Monday, leaving at least 200 dead and more than 1,000 injured due to building collapses, landslides, stampedes and other quake related incidents.
The earthquake struck the country at 2:09pm today (Monday).
The death toll could climb in the 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.
While the magnitude of today’s earthquake is close to the devastating quake of 2005, the epicentre of the 2005 quake was shallow, causing more destruction, said analyst Faheem Zaman.
The earthquake in 2005 was at a depth of 26 km, while today’s earthquake was at a depth of 196 km.
- Epicentre reported as Hindu Kush mountain range
- Casualties reported in Swat, Bajaur Agency, Kallar Kahar, Sargodha, Kasur, Malakand
- Communications services disrupted in Islamabad, Peshawar
- Tremors felt in Delhi, Kabul
- Emergency numbers for Peshawar 091921302 and 091921138
- Karakoram Highway blocked at five places due to landslides
At least 200 dead across Pakistan
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata 191
- Punjab 5
- Azad Jammu Kashmir 1
- Gilgit Balitistan 3
Commissioner Malakand Division Usman told DawnNews that 137 people were killed in Malakand which comprises Swat, Upper and Lower Dir , Chitral, Shangla and Buner areas.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered that 2,000 tents be sent to earthquake affected areas.
An MI-17 helicopter was also placed at the disposal of the KP government to carry out relief efforts.
“A nine-bed mobile hospital with team of surgeons will be dispatched to Dir immediately,” read a statement issued by the PM House.
Around 1,076 people were injured in incidents of roof and wall collapses mostly in the remote mountainous areas.
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.
US ready to provide quake assistance to Pakistan
The United States stands ready to provide support to the government of Pakistan, the White House said.
“The US government has been in touch with the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan and we stand ready to provide any additional support that may be needed,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a briefing.
In Pakistan, USAID has existing partners who are ready to respond if necessary, Earnest added.
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 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.
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.
Modi calls Nawaz, offers assistance
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and expressed condolences over the lives lost in the earthquake. He also offered assistance and cooperation to Pakistan in this hour of need.
Earlier, the Indian premier had contacted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and shared initial damage assessment with him.
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 the crisis management cell at the PM Office. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), respective Provincial Disaster Management Authorities, Inter-Services Public 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 arrived in 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.
Tremors also felt in Balochistan
Earthquake tremors were also felt in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. People came out of their houses and shops and moved towards deserted areas in the aftermath of powerful earthquake, which struck Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"We have not received any report about any casualty," Tahir Munir Minhas, the Director General PDMA told DawnNews.
The tremors were also felt in Zhob, Killa Saifullah and other areas close to the Afghan border.
All deputy commissioners across the province have been put on high alert to cope with any emergency situation, Minhas said. Panic prevailed among the people after strong tremors in the province.
Quetta is located in an earthquake-prone zone. The city was razed to ground within 30 seconds in 1935's deadliest earthquake.
Various parts of Balochistan including Ziarat, Mashkail and Awaran have been destroyed in deadly earthquakes in recent years.
Google launches 'Person Finder' after quake
After the earthquake that jolted parts of South Asia on Monday, Google launched its Person Finder service that allows individuals to post and search for information.
Launched for the first time in 2010, the tech company's service is made live after natural disasters, attempting to make accessible information about missing people.