At least three people were killed early Saturday morning when an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Murree and all six Hazara districts.
Tremors were felt in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Murree, the districts of Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Torghar and Kohistan, Mardan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Even Gujranwala and its surrounding areas experienced mild jolts. The epicentre of the quake was the Margalla Hills, some 23 kilometres northeast of the federal capital and 17 kilometres from Haripur, according to the meteorology department.
So strong were the tremors felt in the twin cities that people came out of their homes, reciting verses from the Holy Quran.
Two women and a child were killed when the roof of their house collapsed due to the earthquake in the Nara area of Abbottabad city. Over a two dozen kacha houses also suffered partial damage in the earthquake, according to police and people in the area.
According to Nara police, a woman later identified as 40-year-old Shahida Bibi, the spouse of Muhammad Javed, and her four-year-old son Ahmed Ali were killed in the disaster. They were sleeping in the courtyard of their home in Kalanda Nara village when the boundary wall fell on them.
The earthquake struck at around 2 am on Saturday.
A roof of the house also collapsed in Kiyala Payen village, killing 8-year-old Reema Khursheed immediately. Her mother Rafia Bibi, wife of Khursheed, was also critically injured. A seismic director said the intensity of the tremors was unusual.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2015.
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