Monday, 13 January, 2020

7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan

A strong earthquake struck major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas on Monday.

Tremors have been felt in major cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Kohat and Malakand.

A child was reportedly killed in Kallar Kahar, while three were reported injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A wall collapsed in Sargodha, injuring 10 people. There are no reports of any deaths in Lahore.

Communication services have been disrupted in Islamabad, where walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Holy Quran. A building has also reportedly collapsed in Peshawar.

Citizens took to social media to post reports of the massive quake that lasted for up to one minute. Tremors were also felt in Kabul and New Delhi.

The full extent of the damage and the number of possible casualties was not yet known.

7.7 on Richter scale

The magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck in northeastern Afghanistan, the United States Geological Survey said.

Vineet Gahlot, the director of seismology at the Indian Meteorological Department, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.7 and an epicenter deep in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Pakistan state TV reported the same magnitude.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department, however, said the magnitude of the earthquake was 8.1.

The quake was 196km deep and centered 82km southeast of Feyzabad in a remote area of Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountain range. According to USGS, the epicenter is 67km from Chitral.

Rescue operation

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all federal, civil, military and provincial agencies to declare an immediate alert and mobilize all resources to ensure the security of citizens of Pakistan. All agencies have been directed to move out with their resources.

Pakistan and the region, along an active continental plate boundary, is often hit by earthquakes. In September 2013, a magnitude-7.7 quake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province, killing at least 376 people. In 2005, the country was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless.

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