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Malakand worst hit by earthquake

Updated October 27, 2015

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People watch the rubble of a house that was destroyed after the earthquake struck Mingora on Monday. — Dawn
People watch the rubble of a house that was destroyed after the earthquake struck Mingora on Monday. — Dawn

MINGORA: Malakand division was worst hit by Monday’s devastating earthquake in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as most of the deaths were reported there.

In Shangla district, 24 people were killed and over 150 people were injured, while around 80 percent of the houses were destroyed in hilly areas.

DIG Azad Khan confirmed 24 deaths and said the injured were shifted to hospitals from different areas of the district.

In Swat district, 21 people, including women and children, were killed, while over 200 people suffered injuries, DC Mehmood Aslam Pervez told Dawn.

Emergency was imposed in all government and private hospitals, where the injured were shifted.

“It was the most terrible earthquake of my life. The earth was literally moving up and down shaking everything,” an elderly woman, Hajra Bibi of Charbagh, told Dawn.

“We thought as if it was the Doomsday as tremors were severe and stretched,” Zainab Bibi, of Amankot, said, adding that there was a mysterious sound in the air during the calamity making the entire atmosphere even more scary.

The Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital, the largest health facility in Malakand division, went short of beds for the injured, whom the hospital staff put on the ground.

Hundreds of youths reached hospitals to offer blood and other services.

The administration officials, district nazim, lawmakers and social and political activists also turned up for help.

According to a statement issued by the ISPR, the army troops reached across Malakand to undertake rescue and relief activities.

In parts of Lower Dir, 18 people, mostly women and children, died and over 200 people suffered injuries in the earthquake.

The district administration declared emergency at the DHQ Hospital, Timergara, and THQ hospitals in Samar Bagh and Chakdara.

The Lower Dir deputy commissioner told Dawn that he could confirm 18 deaths and 200 injuries.

He said all doctors were called for emergency.

The DC along with Lower Dir nazim Rasool Khan and other functionaries visited the DHQ Hospital, Timergara, and directed staff members to provide every possible care to the injured.

Hundreds of houses in different parts of Lower Dir were either damaged or destroyed, while majority of the deaths were reported in Samar Bagh, Mayar, Khall, Lal Qilla and Adenzai areas due to the collapse of house walls.

In Buner, 10 people were killed and several others injured as dozens of mud houses collapsed.

The district administration declared emergency in hospitals and deployed police and security forces for rescue operations.

The bodies and injured were retrieved from under the rubbles of collapsed buildings.

In Upper Dir, 14 people were killed and over 100 were injured in the earthquake.

The people declared the tremors unprecedented and terrifying.

The local police insisted 15 people died in roof collapses.

However, district nazim Sahibzada Fasihullah put the death toll at 10.

Being remote and difficult terrain, most areas in the district were inaccessible and therefore, information on the ravages of the calamity was either unavailable or sketchy.

“Children started crying as the earthquake occurred and as it grew intense, they clung to my legs,” said Nek Bahadur, prayer leader at a mosque in Dir town.

“Today, I saw the death so close but luckily survived. I felt as if the roof is falling on us,” he said.

Dozens of houses collapsed in Dir, Chapar, Jeelar, Shiratkal, Lamoti, Gwaldai and Patrak areas, while many in Dir town were vacated by the residents for being badly damaged.

The District Headquarters Hospital in Dir and Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Wari received 80 injured people.

In different areas of Malakand protected area, two people were killed and 65 people were injured in the earthquake.

Local residents said roofs and walls of several houses and shops collapsed, while cracks emerged in hundreds of buildings.

The injured were taken to the DHQ Hospital, Batkhela.

In Orakzai Agency of Fata, four people, including two women, suffered injuries, while roofs of 72 houses collapsed due to the earthquake.

The agency administration declared emergency in hospitals and sent medical teams to far-flung areas for the injured people.

In Chitral, 22 people were killed and over 100 people suffered injuries.

Officials fear the death toll will rise as the reports of the earthquake’s ravages are coming in from different parts of the district.

The police’s control room said six deaths were reported in Drosh, four in Chitral and Koghuzi each, three in Lot Koh, two in Booni and Mastuj each, and one in Kalash valley of Rumbur.

Sources said 165 injured people were shifted to the DHQ Hospital and the number was growing.

They said the three injured were shifted to Peshawar due to critical condition.

The tehsil hospitals in Booni and Drosh received 75 and 84 injured people respectively, while dozens of the injured were taken to tehsil hospitals in Garam Chashma and Shargram.

Amir Mohammad, tegional programme manager of FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, an organisation of Aga Khan Foundation, said more than 200 mud houses were destroyed in the calamity.

He said as the jolts lasted more than three minutes, the people left houses for safer places lowering the death toll but increasing the number of homeless people.

It is worth mentioning here that more than 1,500 people were rendered homeless by the flash flood that hit the district in last July. The calamity had played havoc on the infrastructure at a large scale.

The landslides caused by the earthquake blocked Chitral-Booni Road, Booni-Mastuj Road and Chitral-Garam Chashma Road for traffic.

The local main bazaar wore a deserted look after the calamity hit the region.

Chitral deputy commissioner Osama Ahmad Warraich told Dawn that assessment of earthquake damages was being carried out on emergency basis in all major affected areas, while food and non-food items would be dispatched there by early Tuesday.

He said a complete and comprehensive report about the damages of private properties and physical infrastructure would be compiled shortly to know about the overall loss caused by the earthquake.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2015

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