Earthquake of 7.5 magnitude hits Pakistan, Afghanistan, India.
A strong earthquake lasting almost 150 seconds was felt in Pakistan on Monday, with buildings shaking in the center of Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad as well as neighboring countries.
Tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi in India and the Afghan capital Kabul, but not in neighboring Nepal, which was hit by a major quake in April.
Hundreds of people raced from buildings onto the streets in Lahore, while the quake was also felt in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, according to an AFP reporter. Local media has reported a landslide in the Gilgit area, while officials told reporters at least 45 people were dead, with the bulk of casualties occurring in Bajaur and Mingora.
Dozens more have been injured due to the tremors. More than 100 people were injured in Peshawar alone, said Dr. Muhammad Sadiq, the head of emergency services at a government hospital there. “Many more injured are still coming to hospital. Many are still under rubble,” Sadiq told AFP. An additional 194 have been reported injured in Swat, according to local hospital authorities.
Afghanistan’s CEO Abdullah Abdullah said reports of damage and injuries were coming in from Afghanistan’s northeast. “Disasters authorities to meet within the hour and respond to the needs,” he tweeted.
Traffic came to a stop in downtown Kabul, with people getting out of their cars as they waited for the quake to pass. As buildings shook throughout north India, hundreds of people poured onto the streets from office blocks, hospitals and homes, AFP reporters and TV footage showed. Officials in Afghanistan said 18 people had been killed in the quake, adding that 12 of the deceased were schoolgirls who died in a stampede caused by a partially collapsed building in the Taloqan region.
Delhi’s metro ground to a halt during the tremor although the airport continued operating. “All of around 190 trains plying on the tracks were stopped at the time of the earthquake. The lines and the trains are now being restored after basic inspection of respective lines,” said Anuj Dayal, Delhi Metro spokesman.
Cellphone networks were down in the Kashmir region where panicked residents also evacuated buildings and schoolchildren were seen huddling together outside their school in Srinagar.
“Some bridges and buildings got damaged. There are no reports of loss of life so far. Cellphone networks are down, we are using our wireless network to gather information,” inspector general of police for the Kashmir region, Javid Gillani, told AFP from the police control room.
Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority spokesman Ahmed Kamal told journalists that aftershocks were expected within 24 hours of the initial quake and urged residents across Pakistan to exercise caution.
According to Pakistan’s Met Office, the earthquake registered at 8.1 on the Richter scale, while the U.S. Geological Survey reported that it was measured at 7.5. The epicenter of the tremors has been reported near Jarm in Afghanistan’s northeast, 250km from Kabul at a depth of 213.5km.