At least 26 people were killed and over 300 injured after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit several cities in northern parts of Pakistan, including the capital Islamabad, on Tuesday. Tremors were felt in Delhi and NCR region, Chandigarh, Dehradun, and parts of India like Kashmir.
According to the Home Department, 26 people were killed and over 300 injured in Mirpur and surrounding areas due to the powerful earthquake.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the earthquake occurred at a relatively deep depth of 10 kilometers in Pakistan, 23 km north of the earthquake Jhelum, stating that the earthquake’s magnitude was 5.8 on the Richter scale. Jhelum is located about 120 km southeast of Islamabad in northwest Pakistan. Mirpur is on the Pakistan side of the disputed region of Kashmir.
“The Center of India-Pakistan was near the border. The largest city of the epicenter is Rawalpindi (in Punjab province of Pakistan),” said JL Gautam, head of operations at the National Center for Seismology (NCS).
While no casualties were reported on this side of the border, people came out of their homes and offices in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and many parts of Rajasthan.
“The (most) damage is in the areas between Jhelum and Mirpur,” said Lt. Gen. Mohammad Afzal, head of Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. “So far we have reports of the death of a girl child and injuries to about 50 people.”
Deputy Commissioner King Qaiser told that after the earthquake some houses in Mirpur collapsed. Parts of a mosque were also demolished in the area, which is badly affected by the earthquake. Emergency has been declared in hospitals across the region.
Television channels showed footage of heavily damaged roads in Mirpur, causing several vehicles to overturn. Many cars fell into deep cracks on the roads. Witnesses said the earthquake was powerful and caused panic among people as people ran out of the building.
The army’s media wing tweeted that troops of the Army along with aviation and medical aid teams have been dispatched.
“We are assessing the loss of life and property,” he said, adding that all departments including NDMA, Pakistan Army and state disaster management have started rescue operations in the earthquake-affected areas.
PTV said in a tweet, “Pakistani Army aviation helicopters have completed an aerial survey to assess the damage in Mirpur, Zarikas and Jalan areas. Army teams have reached earthquake-hit areas of Mirpur, Jalaun, and Zarika. Rescue efforts have begun.”.
Afzal said that Mangla to Jatlan road and three bridges were damaged in the earthquake. We have enough resources to deal with the disaster, he said, adding that the exact amount of disaster will be known by Wednesday.
Officials said Mangla Dam, Pakistan’s main reservoir near Mirpur, is safe. He said that the Mangla Dam powerhouse has been closed, forcing 900 MW power supply to the national grid.
However, the Upper Jhelum Canal was damaged and water entered various villages. Minhas said cracks in the upper Jhelum canal were fixed due to timely intervention of officials.
In 2005, a powerful earthquake killed about 90,000 people in PoK and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.