Tuesday, October 27, 2015 8:31 am
More than 280 people have been killed and about 1,300 others injured so far in the powerful earthquake that struck Pakistan and Afghanistan on Monday, China’s news agency Xinhua has reported.
Fatalities could be higher because the 7.5-magnitude quake occurred in the remote and rugged terrains of Pakistan and Afghanistan which caused landslides and suspension of the telecommunication services.
Pakistani officials said Monday night that over 220 people had been killed and about 1,200 others wounded in the disaster.
In Afghanistan, the death toll has risen to 63, with 30 fatalities in the province of Kunar.
Initial reports said Kunar province is the hardest hit area in Afghanistan where 30 people were killed and more than 70 others injured.
The quake also jolted India-controlled Kashmir Monday, where three people were killed and 15 others injured.
Pervez Rasheed, the information minister of Pakistan said that the rescue operation in the affected areas had started and the government was developing a plan of action to help the victims.
The minister said the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province was the worst hit in the strong earthquake.
He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is visiting London, had shortened his trip and would be back home Tuesday to monitor the rescue and relief operation.
The National Disaster Management Authority said that they were recording the losses incurred as the result of the quake and had dispatched a total of 2,000 tents to the affected areas.
The quake also jolted the country’s capital Islamabad and its sister city Rawalpindi where 17 people were injured.
Pervez Khattak, chief minister of KPK, said Monday night that according to reports coming from different parts of the province, the circumstances were appearing to be grim, but the situation with regard to magnitude of the damage done by the quake would become clear on Tuesday.
Media reports said thousands of houses collapsed in KPK, forcing people to stay under open skies where mercury drops down to five in some of the areas on the chilly October nights.
Land sliding was reported in the northern areas of the country and cracks appeared in the glacier in Hunza area.
A glacier also collapsed at the Nanga Purbat, the ninth highest peak of the world located at the north of Pakistan, but no casualty was reported.
Karakoram Highway, the major road in northern areas, was also blocked from five different places due to land sliding, said the ISPR, adding that the Frontier Work Organization is working in the area to clear the roads.