Epicentre of 6.1-magnitude earthquake was 35 kilometres south of Jarm in Afghanistan
Girl dies after roof of her house caved in in Lasbela, man suffers heart attack in Swat valley
LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: A girl child was killed and at least 15 others were injured as a 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted various parts of the country on Wednesday.
Tremors were reported in Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Charsadda, Murree, Sargodha, Shangla, Haripur and Gujranwala, as well as parts of India, Kashmir and Afghanistan.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicentre of the 6.1-magnitude earthquake was 35 kilometres south of Jarm in Afghanistan. The depth of the quake was estimated to be 191.2km, USGS added.
Jarm, was hit by a devastating 7.5 magnitude quake in October 2015, triggering landslides and flattening buildings, killing more than 380 people across the region. The bulk of the recorded casualties were in Pakistan, where 248 people were killed, including 202 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and more than 1,600 injured.
Following Wednesday’s quake, officials dispatched teams to Balochistan and KP to assess reports of damage, but the National Disaster Management Authority does not expect serious losses, a spokesman said.
No loss of life has been reported except in Lasbela, where a minor girl aged 1.5 months died when the roof of her house collapsed during the shocks. Nine members of her family received injuries.
According to Lasbela Deputy Commissioner Shabir Ahmed Mengal, rescue teams were dispatched to affected areas. Several villages in Balochistan felt the tremors of the quake, the deputy commissioner added.
“The injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. An emergency has been declared in all hospitals”, Mengal said.
In Swat Valley, a visitor in a local hotel passed away due to a heart attack as a result of jolts in the building.
In Peshawar, Lahore and Parachinar, panicked locals ran out of their homes and came out onto the streets as the quake’s tremors were felt.
Four girls received minor injuries at a primary school for girls in Peshawar during a rush to evacuate the premises. They were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital for treatment.
In Landi Arbab, a village near Peshawar, two children were injured as they were running out of their school in panic.
In Islamabad, the windows and doors of the Supreme Court shook during the quake.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who was hearing a case at the time, told observers and lawyers present in the courtroom to remain seated as the “earthquake would subside after the initial shocks”.
Cellphone signals were temporarily disrupted in Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore due to the quake.
Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
The USGS has termed the Hindu Kush “one of the most seismically hazardous regions on earth”. However, nearly all of the recent tremors felt in the region originated deep in the earth’s crust, nearly 200km below the surface.
In a report on earthquakes in this region, the USGS had noted that “the Hindu Kush shares this high-stress configuration with a seismically active area in Colombia, South America.” These two regions have some of the world’s highest rates of deep earthquakes.
The earthquakes arising out of Hindu Kush region are said to be the result of slow collisions between the Indian subcontinent and the Eurasian tectonic plate.
The massive 2005 Kashmir earthquake was also the result of collisions between these two plates.