Earthquake death toll rises to 10 in K-P

Building evacuated in Islamabad after cracks

Our Correspondent March 22, 2023
People are seen coming out of their houses amid an earthquake in Peshawar on March 21, 2023. SCREENGRAB


The death toll from Tuesday’s earthquake in several parts of the country rose to 10, including two women and two children, after reports of more fatalities emerged overnight and on Wednesday, officials said.

All the death occurred in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). However, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) gave a lower tally of 62 injured from earlier reports of nearly 180. It said 10 houses were destroyed, while 55 were partially damaged.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said overnight the 6.8-magnitude earthquake had its epicentre in Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan at a depth of 180 kilometres. The United States Geological Survey said that 6.5 tremor centred near Jurm in Badakhshan.

K-P has, so far, been the worst-affected by the strong earthquake that rattled the region, including Afghanistan, some parts of Central Asia and India. The overall death toll in the region rose to 14.

Also read: At least two dead as powerful quake jolts most parts of Pakistan

Tremors were also felt in several cities of Punjab and Balochistan provinces but there were no reports of casualties. However, cracks appeared in several high-rise buildings in Rawalpindi and elsewhere.

The K-P PDMA said that the intensity of the earthquake was high, therefore, immediate emergency measures were taken at the major hospitals of Peshawar and elsewhere in the province. It added that relief operations were under way in the affected districts.

Bilal Faizi, the spokesperson for the K-P Rescue 1122, said that incidents of walls and roof collapses were received from five districts—Swabi, Chitral, Buner, Lower Dir and Mardan.

“We feared maximum damage due to the intensity [of the earthquake], that’s why we issued an alert,” Faizi told AFP. “But fortunately our fears proved wrong. Residents panicked due to the magnitude of the earthquake, but the damage was minimal.”

The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration said that no casualty or infrastructural damage has been reported so far. However, it added that one building had been evacuated following reports of cracks, while an investigation has been launched.

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Tremors were felt across thousands of kilometres in the region for 30 seconds around 10pm Tuesday. In Jurm district, near the epicentre, a resident of one village reported no casualties despite the proximity.

Some 50 houses had collapsed in the village located in the snow-capped mountains, an AFP correspondent reported. Elsewhere, Afghan officials reported four dead, including a child, and 74 injured, while 150 houses were damaged in Laghman province.

Meanwhile, parliament in its joint session on Wednesday offered Fateha for those who lost their lives in last night's earthquakes in various parts of the country, martyrs of Angoor Adda encounter, and flash floods in Avaran.



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