9 dead after strong earthquake shakes Pakistan

At least nine people were killed and 44 injured in northwest Pakistan by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake late on March 21, officials said.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said the earthquake magnitude was 6.8 whereas the US Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude at 6.5.

The US Geological Survey said the epicenter of the quake was near Jurm town in north-eastern Afghanis-tan in the Hindukush region and had a depth of 187 kilometers. It was felt in bordering Tajikistan and as far as in India.

Affected areas in Pakistan

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

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

Immediately after the earthquake, Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel directed to put PIMS and Poly Clinic on high alert and asked the hospital administrations to stay prepared to deal with any emergency.

Earthquake jolts were also felt in different cities of Punjab including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal, Okara and others. No loss of life was reported immediately from Punjab.

Damage

At least 19 houses were partially damaged by the earthquake, according to media reports. Taimoor Khan, a spokesman for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Disaster Management Authority, told AP that several mudbrick homes had collapsed in remote areas of KPK. “We are still collecting data about the damages,” he added.

In twin cities, the strong earthquake jolts resulted in cracks in the Al-Janaat Mall in Rawalpindi and some buildings in Sector E-11 of Islamabad, according to initial reports.

In Gilgit Baltistan, Rescue 1122 reported damage to a cattle farm in Yasin Ghizer due to landslides, resulting in the death of livestock.

Rescue 1122 officials also launched a search and sweep operation across the Punjab province. However, no damage was reported by the rescue teams nor did they receive any call about the damages due to caused by the earthquake. The provincial monitoring cell is also on high alert to deal with any emergency situation.

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