PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were most seriously affected as a powerful earthquake rocked Pakistan and the region on Monday causing at least 143 deaths and injuries to over 1,500 people.
Thousands of houses were damaged across the country as a result of the quake. The tremors were also felt in India, the Middle East, the Central Asian States and the entire region.
The death toll could rise as reports of losses kept trickling in from remote areas, mostly from the mountainous Malakand Division where the earthquake was the most severe.
There were conflicting reports about the intensity of the earthquake. The local Meteorological Centre said it measured 8.1 on the open-ended Richter scale, making it the most powerful earthquake in Pakistan's history. However, the Seismological Centre in the US calculated that the earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale.
The last devastating earthquake had hit Pakistan on October 8, 2005 and left a trail of death and destruction, primarily in Azad Kashmir and Hazara division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The 7.6 quake had killed more than 73,000 people and dislocated over 3.5 million. Ten years later, the 8.1 earthquake that struck Pakistan on Monday afternoon at 2:09 pm caused much less human loss even though its magnitude was greater.
Earlier, official sources put the death toll at 145 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 106 being reported from the Malakand Division, which has seven districts including Chitral, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Swat, Shangla, Buner and Malakand district.
However, the figures kept rising and subsequently the death toll was revised upwards. Commissioner Malakand Division Captain (retd) Usman Gul was later quoted as saying that 137 persons were killed in Malakand and more than 800 were injured. He said 831 houses were damaged by the impact of the tremors.
PM chairs emergency meeting to review quake relief effortsXISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was chairing an emergency high-level meeting to review the situation in the country and the progress of relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that jolted the northern areas of Pakistan the previous day.
The high-level meeting was also being attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, DG ISPR Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa, DG Military Operations Sahir Shamshad, Chairman NHA Shahid Ashraf Tarrar, Secretary Cabinet Raja Hassan, federal ministers, and other officials.
According to the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), over 2,500 houses have been completely destroyed across the country by the deadly 7.5-magnitude earthquake, one of the most powerful quakes to jolt the country.
Over 240 people were killed and more than 1,500 injured when the quake hit Pakistan's northern areas at 2:09PM on Monday.
All resources be utilised to help quake-hit people: PM
Earlier before his departure for Pakistan after cutting short his stay in London, the prime minister directed concerned authorities to utilise all available resources for the relief and rescue of earthquake-affected people.
He said that Pakistan would try to use its own resources to help victims of the devastating earthquake.
Answering questions asked by Geo News just before his departure, the prime minister said he would personally look after all the matters relating to the earthquake's aftermath.
"It's sad and devastating. I have directed that every kind of help should be provided to the victims. I pray that the Almighty Allah give patience to those who have suffered losses and grant a place in heaven to those who have been martyred," he said.
Sharif said that he had spoken to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and assured him that he would help the victims fully and that the federal government would provide all possible assistance to the worst-hit KP province.
The prime minister cut short his stay in London for a day and left for Pakistan to deal with the aftermath of the quake. The prime minister said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was working effectively to deal with the aftermath but he would be taking the charge himself once he arrives in Pakistan.
Army’s relief, rescue op continue in quake-hit areasXRAWALPINDI: Relief and rescue operation by Pakistan Army is continuing in the quake-hit areas as DG FWO has arrived at Karakoram Highway with troops, according to Inter Services Public Relations.
Director General ISPR Lt-Gen. Asim Bajwa while updating on relief and rescue operation by Pakistan Army, said 27 of 45 landslides have been cleared by FWO at Karakoram Highway and further work was underway.
He said, in addition to ground teams, two helicopters have also been dispatched to Gilgit Baltistan. Rescue teams have spread in GB while capacity of all CMHs across country has been enhanced by 30 per cent.
DG ISPR went on to say that C-130 has left for Chitral with 7 tons ration, 2500 ready meals, additional medical teams, 1000 tents and blankets which will be distributed in remote areas.
Army has already dispatched 20 tons ration, 10,000 ready to eat meals, 1000 tents and 500 blankets by road for Dir. Relief camp and ration distribution centre have also established.
PMD warns of more aftershocks for a week or twoXFakhar Durrani
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has warned that the series of aftershocks will continue till the next week or two and advised the people to abandon buildings that have been affected by the violent 8.1 magnitude’s earthquake on Monday.
A geophysicist even believes this violent earthquake could be a foreshock before a more violent earthquake in near future as this region is lying on a shallow faultline.
Hazrat Mir, Chief Meteorologist of PMD, while talking to The News said that after the major shock of 8.1 total six to seven aftershocks have been recorded and the magnitude of these aftershocks have been recorded from 3.4 to 5.3 on the Richter scale. He said the aftershocks’ magnitude could reach to six on the Richter scale.
“The series of the aftershocks would continue till a week or two therefore the people should immediately vacate buildings which have been damaged as a result of the recent earthquake,” commented Hazrat Mir.
Umar Manzoor, a geophysicist while talking to The News warned this 8.1 magnitude’s earthquake could actually be a foreshock before a major violent earthquake as the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) are passing through near the Margallah Hills.
He said Pakistan is situated near the Hidukush range of mountains, where earthquakes are almost frequent; therefore an earthquake of average intensity can occur any time in Islamabad and northwestern areas of the country.
The region in which Pakistan is situated did come under a severe tremor after a few years that cause a large-scale destruction, claimed Umar.
Active waves are continuously been passing through this region and whenever they enter into a weak zone they cause the earthquake. This region, the Hindukush range, is situated on a weak zone therefore there is always a possibility of earthquake whenever the active waves pass through this region.
“Keeping in view the nature of geological position of Pakistan there is a strong need to improve the building infrastructure in order to avoid any untoward incident in the wake of earthquakes. The government should introduce and effective building safety policy that they should be built shockproof buildings which could at least bear 9 to 10 magnitude’s earthquake,” commented Umar.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the other hand while issuing the safety and precautionary measures to avoid any damage from the aftershocks has advised people to stay calm and check for unstable objects and other hazards above and around you.
The authority in its safety guidelines has also appealed that the people should stay out of the damaged buildings and check their home for structural damage and other hazards and if they suspect that their home is unsafe, do not re-enter.
As per guidelines the first thing after the earthquake people should do is that they should inspect gas, water and electric lines for any damages and leaks. If in doubt put the main switches off.
“Put on sturdy shoes and protective clothing to help prevent injury from debris, especially broken glass. If you are near a coastline in a high risk area, immediately move inland or to higher ground and remain there until officials declare the area safe,” the guidelines suggest.
All resources be utilised to help quake-hit people: PMXOur correspondent
LONDON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday directed the authorities concerned to utilise all available resources for the relief and rescue of earthquake-affected people. He said that Pakistan would try to utilise its own resources to help victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Pakistan on Monday, causing the deaths of hundreds of people and injuring thousands.
Answering questions asked by Geo News just before his departure for Pakistan, the prime minister said he would personally look after all the matters relating to the earthquake’s aftermath. “It’s sad and devastating. I have directed that every kind of help should be provided to the victims. I pray that the Almighty Allah give patience to those who have suffered losses and grant a place in heaven to those who have been martyred.”
Nawaz Sharif said that he had spoken to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and assured him that he would help the victims fully and the Centre would provide all possible assistance to the worst-hit KP.
The prime minister cut short his stay in London for a day and left for Pakistan to deal with the aftermath of the quake. The PM confirmed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had phoned him and offered assistance. The PM appreciated the gesture by the Indian prime minister but didn’t say whether Pakistan would accept the offer.
The PM said that he had been given a briefing on the quake and he was informed that remote areas had been hit hard but there were no accurate figures available. The PM said that he would be in a better position once he had been given a briefing about the quake while in Pakistan but, while answering a question, said that overseas Pakistanis would help their brethren who need their help. He also hoped that ordinary Pakistanis would help the victims in rehabilitation.
The prime minister said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was working effectively to deal with the aftermath but he would be taking the charge himself.
Indian gangster Chota Rajan held in IndonesiaXNEW DELHI: After two decades of a worldwide search, infamous Indian gangster Chota Rajan was finally arrested in Indonesian island of Bali on Monday.
According to India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Rajan was arrested by Indonesian authorities and the process of confirming his identity was underway. Interpol will be contacted soon for his extradition to India, he added.
Indonesian officials said Rajan, 55, who is wanted in several cases including murder in India for over 20 years, was arrested in Bali on Australian police’s information. He was arrested upon landing at Bali’s airport, they added.
They said dialogue process was underway with Interpol for handing over the suspect to the Indian authorities.
US says it’s ready to provide quake help to Pakistan, AfghanistanXWASHINGTON: The United States stands ready to provide support to the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan after a major earthquake struck the remote Afghan
northeast on Monday, the White House said.
"The U.S. government has been in touch with the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan and we stand ready to provide any additional support that may be needed," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a briefing.
"There is a substantial USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) presence in both of these countries to try to assist their needs," Earnest added.
"And there are a number of pre-positioned emergency shelter and relief supply kits in warehouses throughout Afghanistan. In Pakistan, USAID has existing partners who are ready to respond if necessary." (Reuters)
Rangers serves legal notice to MQM's Waseem AkhterXKARACHI: Sindh Rangers on Monday sent a legal notice to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Waseem Akhter for what the spokesman say 'leveling false and baseless allegation against the paramilitary force during a talk show’.
According to a press release issued here, the Rangers spokesman said MQM leader Waseem Akhter in a television talk show aired on September 29 had accused the Rangers of stealing hides of sacrificial animals and involvement in extra-constitutional activities.
The spokesman termed the allegations leveled by MQM leader as an attempt to tarnish the image of the paramilitary force.
"The legal notice was sent to Waseem Akhter under section 8 of Defamation Ordinance 2002", the spokesman added.
Sushma Swaraj vows to find Geeta’s parents after her DNA testXNEW DELHI: India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj on Monday thanked Pakistan and Edhi family for looking after Geeta for 15 years and vowed to find her parents after getting DNA tests.
Addressing a press conference along with Geeta after she arrived in India earlier today, Sushma Swaraj said: “After Bilquis Edhi, I am the mother of Geeta.”
Earlier, Geeta refused to recognize as hers the Mahatos family which had claimed she is their girl.
Fifteen years ago Geeta was only 8-10 years old when she had crossed into Pakistan’s border from India and ended up at Edhi Home – a charity shelter run by internationally known welfare worker Abdul Sattar Edhi.
She was raised and taken care of by the Edhi family for a period of almost 13 years in Pakistan.
Geeta flew to India from Karachi airport on Monday morning along with members of Edhi family to recognize the family which believed Geeta is their lost girl.
Earthquake aftershocks reported in Peshawar among KP citiesXPESHAWAR: Several medium-intensity aftershocks were reported in several cities and towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including the provincial capital following the major earthquake that jolted most parts of Pakistan on Monday.
Aftershock of 3 and 3.5 magnitudes were reported within two hours of the first earthquake in the upper areas of the country.
At least 186 people were killed and scores others injured after a powerful 7.5 magnitude quake struck northern Pakistan earlier in the day and was felt throughout much of South Asia, with fears the death toll could rise substantially.
According to Director of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Mushtaq Shah, mid-intensity aftershocks are expected to continue for the next two to three days in the affected areas. Low-intensity aftershocks are also likely to happen during the next 30 days, he added.
Shah advised people of the affected areas to leave the quake-hit buildings for at least one month.
ECP allows FAFEN to monitor Punjab, Sindh LG pollsXISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday allowed Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) – a non-profit NGO – to observe the electoral process of the upcoming Local Government Elections in Sindh and Punjab.
According to FAFEN, the decision was made after its delegation held a meeting with the officials of Election Commission to remove reservations expressed by the country’s electoral body in allowing the poll watchdog to observe the elections.
Under a new understanding, the FAFEN will submit an affidavit, taking full responsibility of their election observers’ work, security and behavior.
Earlier, the ECP had directed the election watchdog to present their 3,000 poll observers for security clearance. The FAFEN had expressed strong reservations over the precondition.