At least 10 dead, 62 injured in KP after earthquake

Published March 22, 2023
This handout photograph released by the Pakistan’s Emergency Rescue 1122 Service on March 22, 2023 shows rescue workers attending an earthquake victim at a hospital in Swat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. — AFP
This handout photograph released by the Pakistan’s Emergency Rescue 1122 Service on March 22, 2023 shows rescue workers attending an earthquake victim at a hospital in Swat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. — AFP
People gather outside a mall following an earthquake in Islamabad on March 21, 2023. — AFP
People gather outside a mall following an earthquake in Islamabad on March 21, 2023. — AFP

At least 10 people were dead and 62 injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a government official said, after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake with its epicentre in Afghanistan struck late on Tuesday.

According to a report issued by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), 10 people had died in the earthquake, including two children. The report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, also said 62 people had been injured.

The report further stated that 10 homes had been completely destroyed while 55 had been partially destroyed.

The quake was primarily felt in northern parts of the country, including Rawal­pindi, Islamabad, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar, Haripur, Mardan, Chitral, Charsadda and others.

The earthquake also jolted different cities in Punjab, though no loss of life was immediately reported. Shocks were felt in Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal, Okara and other cities.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred near Jurm town in north-eastern Afghanis-tan in the Hindukush region and had a depth of 187 kilometres.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said the quake was of magnitude 6.8, whereas the USGS put the magnitude at 6.5.

The earthquake also jolted the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), where the resultant landslides created fear. However, no loss of life was immediately reported.

Rescue 1122 said landslides damaged a cattle farm in Yasin Ghizer, resulting in the death of livestock.

 People stand under a crack following an overnight earthquake at a parking area of a residential apartment in Islamabad on March 22, 2023. — AFP
People stand under a crack following an overnight earthquake at a parking area of a residential apartment in Islamabad on March 22, 2023. — AFP

Videos from Islamabad show panic-stricken people, especially those living in high-rises, rushing out of their homes while reciting Kalma Tayyaba.

Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel directed officials to put Poly Clinic and Pims hospitals on high alert. He asked the hospitals’ administration to prepare themselves to deal with any emergency.

According to initial reports, cracks appeared in the Al-Janaat Mall in Rawalpindi and buildings in Islamabad’s Sector E-11.

A spokesperson for the Punjab Emergency Services said Rescue 1122 officials were launching search and sweep operations across the province.

He said they did not receive any call about the damages caused by the earthquake and the provincial monitoring cell was working to handle the situation.

 People come out on the streets in Islamabad as an earthquake was felt on Tuesday night. — DawnNewsTV
People come out on the streets in Islamabad as an earthquake was felt on Tuesday night. — DawnNewsTV

Tuesday’s earthquake was among the intermediate ones, which are between 70km and 300km in depth. Shallow quakes are at depths of less than 70km and are the ones that have broader damage.

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 6.3 magnitude earthquake jolted parts of Islamabad on January 29 while a 5.6 magnitude earthquake jolted a number of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s districts on Jan 19.

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.

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