Toll from Pakistan temblor soars to 228, relief effort on
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The death toll from the strong earthquake that struck Pakistan on Monday afternoon has risen to 228 dead and 1,620 wounded, officials said on Tuesday, as relied and rescue efforts intensified.
In the aftermath of the massive temblor, measuring 7.5 on the open-ended Richter sale, devastated 2,520 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said. Rescuers rushed to deliver relief aid to victims.
Panicked residents of Peshawar rushed out of homes as a result of the powerful quake, which was 196 km deep and centred 82 km southeast of Faizabad (capital of Afghanistan's northeastern Badakhshan province) in the Hindu Kush mountain range.
Arbab Mohammad Asim, mayor for the northwestern city of Peshawar, said many houses and buildings had collapsed in the capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the worst-hit federating unit.
Many people are still buried under piles of rubble, sparking fears of more fatalities. In chilly condition, tthousands of panicked people spent the night outdoors due to fear of aftershocks.
Military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted two army helicopters each were flying in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan provinces to provide rescue services. Frontier Works Organisation personnel have cleared 27 of the 45 landslides on the Karakoram Highway.
A C-130 aircraft flew to the valley Chitral near the Afghanistan border with seven tonnes of ration, food, medical teams, 1000 tents and blankets for distribution in remote areas.
Bajwa said 20 tonnes of ration, 10,000 meals, 1,000 tents and 500 blankets was dispatched by road to the Dir district of KP. But residents of Dir said rescue and relief teams were yet to reach their area.
The quake jolted Peshawar, the worst-hit city, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Chitral, Buner, Mardan Rawalpindi, Quetta, Kohat, Malakand, Dir and many other towns. Aftershocks in Sindh province caused havoc.
At least 184 people were reported dead as several residential and commercial buildings were razed to the ground in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in Peshawar, Dir, Buner, Chitral and Swat.
In Gilgit Baltistan, eight people, including women and children, were killed. At least 30 deaths occurred in the tribal belt, in Swat, 25 in Dir, 14 in Bajaur tribal region, five in Punjab, and one in Azad Kashmir.
The epicentre of the earthquake was in Badakhshan province, approximately 265km northeast of Kabul. The magnitude was close to a 2005 earthquake, but the destruction was more widespread then due to the shallow epicentre of the quake, 26 km, compared to a depth of 212.5 km on Monday.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said the magnitude of the earthquake was 8.1. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered civil, military and provincial agencies to declare an immediate alert and mobilise all resources to ensure the security of citizens.
A crisis management cell has been established to coordinate with federal, civil, military and provincial agencies for damage assessment and relief efforts. The cell will work round the clock.
Tremors were also felt in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. People came out of houses and shops, running toward deserted areas. Zhob, Qila Saifullah and other areas close to the Afghan border were also shaken.
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