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Sunday Apr 10, 2016

Strong earthquake jolts different parts of Pakistan

Strong earthquake jolts different parts of Pakistan

KARACHI/LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Strong earthquake tremors shook buildings in different parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on Sunday, including northern areas of Swat, Mansehra and Azad Kashmir, and as far south as Lahore and New Delhi.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the earthquake at 6.6 magnitude, putting the epicentre at a depth of 210 kilometres near Ashkasham in Afghanistan, close to Chitral near the Pak-Afghan border.

Pakistani authorities measured the earthquake at 7.1 magnitude on the Richter scale.

In Pakistan, the tremors were felt in areas including Swat, Kohistan, Astor, Chitral, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Lahore, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar, Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and other areas.

Witnesses in different parts of the country said the tremors lasted from between 15 seconds to almost a minute in some areas.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has ordered an emergency in all hospitals across the province.

A PDMA spokesman said that they had not received any reports of casualties or any major damages as yet, and that a control room has been set up for relief and rescue operations.

But, according to reports received by Geo News, at least one person was killed and another injured after the tremors caused land-sliding in Buner. The Buner area was cut off from Swat following the land-sliding.

The earthquake also triggered land-sliding on the Shahrah-e-Karakoram near Chilas.

Separately, at least two injured children were also brought to the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar, the provincial capital.

In Islamabad and Kabul, residents left their homes when the quake struck, with buildings swaying for well over a minute in both capitals.

Similar reports were received from across northern and central Pakistan.

People in Lahore, 630 km from the epicentre, also reported they had felt the tremors. A witness for Reuters news agency in Chitral said the tremor was strong but there was no major damage visible.

Tremors were also felt in the Indian capital New Delhi and in Indian Occupied Kashmir, witnesses said, with some people working in high-rise buildings in the Indian capital rushing into the streets.

The Delhi underground system was also halted briefly, commuters told the NDTV channel.

In Kabul, Omar Mohammadi, a spokesman for the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, said officials were collecting information but no reports of casualties or damage had been received so far.

A 7.5-magnitude quake struck the area on Oct 26 last year, killing more than 300 people and destroying thousands of homes.

The Hindu Kush area bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan is a seismically active area, with quakes often felt across the region.

Just over a decade ago, a 7.6-magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people.

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