At least 2 dead, 6 injured as 6.8 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of country including Islamabad, Lahore
At least two people were killed and six injured as a 6.8 magnitude earthquake — with its epicentre being the Hindu Kush region — jolted parts of the country on Tuesday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
The US Geological Survey said the quake rocked Afghanistan and parts of India as well, including the capital New Delhi, adding that the quake epicentre was 40 kilometres south-southeast of the Afghan town of Jurm.
An interim report from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Disaster Management Authority said that two people died and six people were injured from incidents of roof, wall and house collapses while eight homes were partially damaged in the province.
However, Swat District Police Officer Shafiullah Gandapur told Dawn.com that two people died in the district while 150 were injured, adding that they were moved to Saidu Teaching Hospital for treatment.
According to Radio Pakistan, PMD DG Mahr Sahibzad Khan said that earthquake tremors were felt in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, South Waziristan and other areas of the country.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered the National Disaster Management Authority and other institutions to be ready to deal with any emergency.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services said that major government hospitals will remain on high alert in Islamabad, adding that the alert was issued to the hospitals on Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel’s direction.
The minister also directed the administration of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and the Federal Government Polyclinic to ensure all necessary arrangements in this regard.
According to AFP, witnesses said that the strong earthquake lasting for at least 30 seconds was felt across much of Pakistan on Tuesday night.
“People ran out of their houses and were reciting the Quran,” an AFP correspondent in Rawalpindi said, with similar reports coming from Islamabad, Lahore and elsewhere in the country.
TV footage showed citizens out on the streets from their homes and buildings after the quake shocks were felt.
Politicians and political parties also reacted to the news and prayed for safety and protection.
Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed over 1,000 people last year.
In October 2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake had jolted KP at 08:39am along with Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, killing over 100,000 people, including men, women and children.
Additional input from the Associated Press of Pakistan and Reuters.