Earthquake kills 9, injures 44 in Pakistan, earthquake also jolted Afghanistan & India

By Aamir Latif and Ahmad Adil

KARACHI, Pakistan/NEW DELHI (AA): A powerful earthquake jolted parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on Tuesday evening, with at least nine confirmed dead in Pakistan so far.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter of the magnitude 6.5 tremor was in Afghanistan’s Jurm region.

The National Seismic Monitoring Center in Pakistan initially gave a reading of 7.7, which the Pakistan Meteorological Department revised down to 6.8.

The meteorological agency said the quake was centered in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan’s bordering areas.

Tremors were felt in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Quetta, Sargodha, Mianwali, Peshawar, Kohat, Swat, Chitral, Dir, Shangla, and other districts of the northeastern Punjab, southwestern Balochistan and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, according to the National Disaster Management Authority and local media.

The quake was also felt in Mirpur, Kotli, and other districts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

At least nine people were killed and dozens injured, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as tremors flattened scores of houses and triggered landslides in several mountainous areas, officials and local media reported.

Two deaths were reported from the scenic Swat valley, which was also hit by a massive earthquake in 2015 that killed over 200 people, Additional Commissioner Sohail Khan told reports.

Another two deaths were reported from Dir and Bajaur districts, Geo News reported.

Over 80 people, primarily because of roof and wall collapses, were hospitalized in Swat, Dir, Swabi, Chitral, and Malakund districts of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, said Bilal Fauzia, a spokesman for the rescue service.

A majority of the injured received minor injuries, health officials said.

In Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, according to national and provincial disaster management authorities, several high-rise buildings developed cracks due to the earthquake, forcing the administration to order a mandatory evacuation.

Teams have been sent to ensure evacuation in Rawalpindi and authorities have been directed to carry out a survey of the high-rise buildings across the province, a spokesman for the Punjab’s disaster management authority said.

No casualty has been reported from any part of the province so far, he maintained.

In Pakistan, footage aired on local broadcaster Geo News showed people rushing out of buildings and heading for open spaces.

Another video showed a host and guests leaving a TV show’s set as fans, chairs and lights swayed.​

Tremors also downed utility poles, knocking out power in several areas, local broadcaster Samaa News reported.

Landslides blocked the historic Silk route that connects Pakistan with neighboring China at several points, the channel reported.

They also blocked roads in Swat and Dir districts at different points.

India, Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, Sharafat Zaman Amar, Taliban’s spokesman for the public health ministry said, so far at least two people died and around 20 others were injured in the earthquake in Afghanistan.

Zaman Amar said “Unfortunately, there could be more casualties as the quake was so powerful, in most parts of the country” all hospitals and health facilities are ready to save lives of people, he added.

The quake also shook parts of Indian-administered Kashmir and was felt in India’s northern parts, including the capital New Delhi.

“My bed started shaking suddenly until I realized that it was a strong earthquake. All our family members rushed outside in no time. It was scary,” Deepak Sharma, a Delhi resident, told Anadolu.

A number of videos shared on social media showed people coming out on roads and in open space after the earthquake.

“The whole building started shaking and when I came out of home, everyone was there on the road. Many kids were crying because of fear,” Kishore Kumar, another Delhi resident, told Anadolu.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in India.

*Islamuddin Sajid from Islamabad also contributed to this report

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Injured person being taken to a hospital following strong earthquake in Peshawar, Pakistan on March 21, 2023. Photojournalist :Hussain Ali/AA]

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