MUZAFFARABAD: The strong earthquake of 5.8 magnitude has brought disasters to different parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) which claimed at least 23 lives and more than 300 left injured so far, ARY News reported on Tuesday.
The quake hit some urban and rural parts of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) including Muzaffarabad, Kotli and many other scattered places.
The death toll rises to 19 in the affected areas primarily Mirpur and Jatlan of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir which was previously stood at 2 after the emergence of initial reports.
According to the latest reports, at least 19 people lost their lives and more than 300 people received injuries as 11 deaths are reported in Jatlan and 8 in Mirpur.
A Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Raja Rizwan from Mirpur told ARY News that the number of deaths is increased to 19 and more than 300 wounded people were shifted to hospitals.
The officer further said that the local administration and police forces need heavy machinery to proceed with the relief activities.
Moreover, the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal, confirmed that various buildings including Boyz Hostel in Jatlan are collapse as the outcome of the strong earthquake.
The reports from AJK’s Mirpur stated that deep cracks emerged on roads near the Jatlan Canal situated in Upper Jhelum and several cars were overturned into it.
In another incident, a building in AJK’s Mirpur collapsed and various citizens received severe wounds which are being shifted to the nearby hospital, deputy commissioner told media. However, it is unclear regarding the genre of building and the accurate figure of casualties in the incident.
The tremors have also affected the building of Mirpur Hospital.
‘Relief activities underway’
The AJK information minister told media that the concerned authorities have taken immediate measures for providing relief to the affected people besides analysing the damages and casualty rate following the strong earthquake.
“We don’t want to create the environment of fear right now,” Mushtaq Ahmed Minhas said.
“A group of rescue teams has been dispatched from AJK to initiate large-scale relief activities in Mirpur, whereas, Pakistan Army personnel have also commenced relief activities in the affected areas. Emergency has been imposed in all hospitals by the higher authorities.”
“AJK Prime Minister [Raja Farooq Haider] is returning to the country to monitor the relief activities by himself,” he added.
A strong earthquake jolted the federal capital Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and its suburban parts on Tuesday evening, however, no major incident of death and damage was reported from other parts of the country except Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as yet.
Tremors felt in various cities for 10 seconds including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar, Pasrur, Jhelum, Kot Momin, Murree, Kala Bagh, Sangla Hills and many others where citizens came out of their houses and offices.
The provider of real-time earthquake info, Independent Scientific Organization’s CSEM EMSC, stated on its website that a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hits the parts of Pakistan today, which was 23 km away from northeast Jhelum and 89 km away from Rawalpindi’s south-east part.
In a Twitter message, the experts said that the intensity of the earthquake was 5.5M which strikes 81 km southeast of Rawalpindi city.
The reports from the US Geological Survey also confirmed the observance of an earthquake in Pakistan, stating the magnitude was recorded at 5.8.
Army medical and aviation contingents
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa has issued directives to the Pakistan Armed Forces to begin urgent relief efforts in the areas affected by the earthquake.
Pakistan Armed Forces’ medical and aviation contingents have been dispatched to provide relief to those affected by the natural calamity heeding the Army Chief’s orders.
Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) taking to the social networking website Twitter, informed of the orders issued by General Qamar Javed Bajwa with regards to the relief efforts.
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