Mirpur, Muzaffrabad: The death toll from an earthquake that struck Pakistani Kashmir jumped to 37, officials said on Wednesday, as families mourned relatives and rescue teams sent supplies to the area.
The officials said the extent of the casualties, who included young children, emerged a day after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck as authorities were able to reach towns and villages around the region outside main population centres.
“We had dispatched survey teams in the entire area affected by the earthquake to collect details of the victims,” Muhammad Tayyab, divisional commissioner for Mirpur, one of the worst affected areas, told Reuters news agency, adding that around 500 people had been injured.
Tuesday’s earthquake levelled homes and shops and divided open roads in an area between the towns of Jhelum and Mirpur to the north, part of which is in Pakistan’s portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir.
“The situation is slowly returning to normal, the level of panic is now less among the people, although an aftershock was felt at night,” said Sardar Gulfaraz Khan, a police deputy inspector general.
This morning, aftershocks were felt in the Kashmiri city of Mirpur; and in many cities of the KP province and AJK, as reported by Geo News.
Near Mirpur, roads were entirely damaged and vehicles overturned by the trembles though bridges, mobile phone towers, and electricity poles were also badly smashed in the melee.
According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck at the shallow depth of 10 kilometres with the epicentre lying 1km south-east of New Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Following the tremor, shocks were felt in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Murree, Jhelum, Charsadda, Swat, Khyber Agency, Abbottabad, Bajaur, Nowshera, Mansehra, Battagram, Torghar and Kohistan.
AJK Deputy Commissioner on Tuesday said that emergency has been enforced in the hospitals.
As per good sources, the quake sent people of the affected areas rushing to the streets.
The spokesperson of the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) issued a word of caution saying defensive actions should be taken to confirm the impact of the quake remains less.