ISLAMABAD, Sep 24 (APP):A strong earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, Tuesday shook parts of northern Pakistan, killing at least nineteen, causing damage to buildings, rupturing roads and injuring several hundred people, according to initial reports.
The strong quake caused a breach in the Upper Jhelum Canal, inundating a number of villages along the Jatlan road, around 140 kms south of Islamabad, APP’s Correspondent from Mirpur, Azad Kashmir Altaf Rao reported.
Quoting district headquarter hospital sources and the officials at the Control Room, he said the number of the injured was increasing.DIG Mirpur said the death toll had risen to 19 and the number of injured
Officials of the Wapda told APP that no damage was reported to the Mangla Dam reservoir and its power house.
Several buildings have been damaged, and rescue teams were responding to emergency calls in different localities. Government and private health facilities were treating the injured.
Medical Superintendent of the DHQ hospital Dr Farooq Noor feared the
number of deaths might rise as there was a steady increase in the number of injured.
Reports from Jatlan said wide ruptures were reported on roads, plunging several vehicles, traveling on the road into the fissures, while large cracks appeared in adjoining fields.
The quake also severely damaged two pedestrian bridges over the canal, making it difficult for the locals to cross over.
According to the geological experts at the country’s Met Office and the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter was 22.3 km north of Jhelum, and 32.9 kms West of Bhimbar, Azad Kashmir, with a depth
of only 10 kms, causing wide scale damage in the vicinity.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed troops to immediately launch relief and rescue operation in the aid of civil administrations in the quake-stricken areas of Azad Jammu and
Army troops with aviation and medical support teams dispatched for operation in aid of civil administration for victims of earthquake in AJK,” said Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor in a Tweet. He said army troops with aviation and
medical support teams have been dispatched.
The strong shocks forced the people to rush in the outdoors. Hundreds of people, including men, women, children were seen sitting on the roadsides as aftershocks continued.
The building of the Radio Azad Kashmir and FM 101 also suffered extensive damage, however its staff managed to shift the equipment outdoors to continue the transmission.
Eye witnesses reported extensive damage to several buildings with wide cracks in walls, while several boundary walls collapsed, injuring people in the vicinity.
Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir who was in Lahore, cut short his visit to rush to Mirpur to supervise the rescue operations.
A Control Room has been established at the DC Office. DC Qaiser Aurangzeb said the civil administration was carrying out rescue and relief operations with the army.
With a state of emergency declared at the District Headquarters Hospital and lack of space, the injured were being treated in corridors and lawns of the hospital.
Emergency teams of NDMA, Rescue 1122, Edhi and other services are also reaching the area.