Over 200 killed in Pakistan as 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes

Published: October 26, 2015
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Residents walk past the rubble of a house after it was damaged by an earthquake in Mingora, Swat. PHOTO: REUTERS

Residents walk past the rubble of a house after it was damaged by an earthquake in Mingora, Swat. PHOTO: REUTERS

For live coverage of the earthquake, read here.

A powerful earthquake struck Pakistan and Afghanistan on Monday, killing at least 200 people, officials said.

The death toll could climb in coming days because communications were down in much of the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range area where the quake was centred.

Reports of deaths had poured in from different areas of both countries by nightfall.

‘I felt like this was the end’

PHOTO: REUTERS

In Pakistan, 140 deaths were reported, most in northern and northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan, officials told Reuters.

Particularly hard-hit in Pakistan was Chitral, where 11 people were killed, police official Shah Jehan said, adding that the death toll was likely to rise because so many areas were cut off from communications.

Journalist Gul Hammad Farooqi, 47, said his house had collapsed. “I was thrown from one side of the road to the other by the strength of the earthquake. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Farooqi said. “There is a great deal of destruction here, and my house has collapsed, but thankfully my children and I escaped.”

Further south, Peshawar had one death but at least 150 injured people were being treated at the city’s main hospital, the provincial health chief said.

Shockwaves were felt in northern India and in Pakistan, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them. “We were very scared … We saw people leaving buildings, and we were remembering our God,” Pakistani journalist Zubair Khan said by telephone from the Swat Valley northwest of the capital, Islamabad. “I was in my car, and when I stopped my car, the car itself was shaking as if someone was pushing it back and forth.”

Twitter reports on #earthquake

In one of the worst incidents, at least 12 girls were killed in a stampede to get out of their school in the northeastern Afghan province of Takhar.

Residents search under the rubble of a house after an earthquake hit Lower Dir. PHOTO: AFP

“They fell under the feet of other students,” said Abdul Razaq Zinda, provincial head of the Afghan National Disaster Management Agency, who reported heavy damage in Takhar.

The quake was 213 km deep and centred 254 km northeast of Kabul in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province.

The US Geological Survey initially measured the quake’s intensity at 7.7 then revised it down to 7.5. Just over a decade ago, a 7.6 magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people.

In Afghanistan, a total of 24 were reported dead on Monday including the 12 schoolgirls, seven people in the eastern province of Nangarhar, two in Nuristan province in the northeast and three in eastern Kunar province, officials said.

Residents look at a damaged house following an earthquake in Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP

In Afghanistan, international aid agencies working in northern areas reported that cell phone coverage in the affected

Here’s what you should do during an earthquake

areas remained down in the hours after the initial quake. “The problem is we just don’t know. A lot of the phone lines are still down,” said Scott Anderson, deputy head of office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Kabul.

Badakhshan provincial governor Shah Waliullah Adib sai about 400 houses were destroyed but he had no figures on casualties.

“Right now we are collecting information,” he said.

PHOTO: REUTERS

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record, on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. The mountainous region is seismically active, with earthquakes the result of the Indian subcontinent driving into and under the Eurasian landmass. Sudden tectonic shifts can cause enormous and destructive releases of energy.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • ZAK
    Oct 26, 2015 - 9:01PM

    Rescue,Relief,Rehabilatation and Reconstruction are main steps for earthquake affected people.

    These can be best performed if goods and services are combined under the umberella of army.

    Army chief can also consult his ptedecessor like Mushrraf who did very well during 2005 earthquake.

    They have all formations and command.The rescue and relief are uphill tasksRecommend

  • Stranger
    Oct 26, 2015 - 10:18PM

    Mother Earth is Angry. Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 26, 2015 - 10:48PM

    @Stranger:
    What about the Creator of the Earth?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 26, 2015 - 11:53PM

    …and where was our Prime minister at the time ?Recommend

  • someone
    Oct 27, 2015 - 12:04AM

    @Dastagir Fikree:
    There is none.Recommend

  • Asadullah Mahmood
    Oct 27, 2015 - 12:13AM

    @Parvez:
    He was worrying about people like you.Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 12:20AM

    @someone:
    But most people on earth do believe that there is a Creator. You have the right to your belief.Recommend

  • harry
    Oct 27, 2015 - 1:08AM

    Please help the effected people in any way you can…Any one know of any fund set up to help these people so people living outside pk can donate?Recommend

  • Babur Nawaz Khan
    Oct 27, 2015 - 2:49AM

    @ZAK:
    Very well during 2005? You’re kidding right?
    The whole country’s focus was put on the Margalla Towers in Islamabad while the whole of north was ignored, leading to far more deaths than necessary. The 2005 disaster was as much mismanaged as the Hurricane Katrina in the US. People are still going through the aftershocks of the incident and are still living in rubble.Recommend

  • optimus
    Oct 27, 2015 - 4:46AM

    Very sad news though I am also worried there will be another big influx of kp people in karachi. Recommend

  • someone
    Oct 27, 2015 - 5:35AM

    @Dastagir Fikree:
    Well most of the people on earth are like sheep. They just follow. They don’t think. You see the theory of creation has a flaw that it would need infinite number of creators. Moreover seeing is believing. I think you would not buy the world’s best car if you can’t see it no matter how much its manual tells you how great the car is bug then again you may because sellsman could be very convincing. Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 7:31AM

    @someone:
    The earth (and the universe) has a design, which presupposes a designer, and that is the Creator; just this simple proof maybe enough but not for the skeptics. Most people who do believe in the Creator are not sheep but they do think. Aristotle, the thinker, the philosopher, reasoned well up to the Creator, in his coinage of the Prime Mover, for example. For Plato, “demiourgos”, (etymologically, demiourgos means “one who works for the demos, that is for the people”), which is immortal and that is another example of a thinker reaching God through reasoning. Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:03AM

    @someone:
    The earth (and the universe) has a design, which presupposes a designer, and that is the Creator; just this simple proof maybe enough but not for the skeptics. Recommend

  • New Energy
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:05AM

    @optimus:
    And, they shall infuse new energy in Karachi. Recommend

  • Np
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:07AM

    RIP for those who are no more. Condolences for their families.

    @Parvez:
    Surely you do not expect Nawaz to have anticipated the earthquake and stayed put in the country?Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:11AM

    In this time of grief I sincerely express sadness and prayer for those affected by this tragedy. Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:14AM

    I sincerely offer my deepest sympathy to those affected by this natural disaster. Wish success with your relief efforts.Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:21AM

    @ET: Please help me with my right to reply to someone who has written to me.
    @someone:
    The earth (and the universe) has a design, which presupposes a designer, and that is the Creator; just this simple proof maybe enough but not for the sceptics. Most people who do believe in the Creator are not sheep but they do think. Aristotle, the thinker, the philosopher, reasoned well up to the Creator, in his coinage of the Prime Mover, for example. For Plato, “demiourgos”, (etymologically, demiourgos means one who works for the demos, that is for the people), which is immortal and that is another example of a thinker reaching God through reasoning. Recommend

  • someone
    Oct 27, 2015 - 5:14PM

    @Dastagir Fikree:
    I wonder what kind of design it is that the largest planet of our solar system can not sustain the life while our own planet is 70 % covered with salt water that is good for nothing for human.Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 7:00PM

    @someone:
    With salt the seawater would become putrid and no one would be able to navigate without catching diseases. The salt keeps the seas healthy and traversable. Besides, salt, by keeping seas healthy, makes seas a reliable reservoir of water from which evaporates water that rains as fresh water without which non-oceanic life would not sustain.
    When this planet is good enough, why create life on other planets. (Maybe, the other planets were created to keep balance in the solar system.)Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 7:46PM

    @someone:
    With salt the seawater would become putrid and no one would be able to navigate without catching diseases. The salt keeps the seas healthy and traversable. Besides, salt, by keeping seas healthy, makes seas a reliable reservoir of water from which evaporates water that rains as fresh water without which non-oceanic life would not sustain.
    When this planet is good enough, (and even marvelous for those who can appreciate), why create life on other planets. Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 8:28PM

    @Dastagir Fikree:
    Correction: I meant without salt the seawater would become putrid and no one would be able to navigate without catching diseases. The error is regretted.Recommend

  • Dastagir Fikree
    Oct 27, 2015 - 9:33PM

    @someone:
    Without salt the seawater would become putrid and no one would be able to navigate without catching diseases. The salt keeps the seas healthy and traversable. Besides, salt, by keeping seas healthy, makes seas a reliable reservoir of water from which evaporates water that rains as fresh water without which non-oceanic life would not sustain.
    When this planet is good enough, (and even marvelous for those who can appreciate), why create life on other planets. Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Oct 28, 2015 - 3:38AM

    @Dastagir Fikree:
    Curious that the five huge “freshwater” Great Lakes between America and Canada are salt free, yet ships have navigated those fresh (“non-putrid”) waters for decades without catching diseases!Recommend

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