7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan, at least 61 deadA 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas, on Monday, leaving at least 52 dead and scores injured due to roof and building collapses.

Forty minutes after the first earthquake, an aftershock of 4.8 magnitude was reported in the same area. Aftershocks are expected to continue in the affected areas.

Major updates

Epicentre reported as Hindu Kush mountain range
Casualties reported in Swat, Bajaur Agency, Kallar Kahar, Sargodha, Kasur
Communications services disrupted in Islamabad, Peshawar
Tremors in felt in Delhi, Kabul
State television has provided the following numbers for the earthquake affectees to contact authorities:

0519206978 and 03006337544

Authorities in Peshawar have provided the following numbers for the victims:

091921302 and 091921138

52 dead across Pakistan
Atleast 18 people were killed in Peshawar city, according to provincial information minister Mushtaq Ghani.

Eight people, including women and children, were killed in Swat, while four people were killed in the Bajaur tribal region after buildings collapsed in the area.

An eight-year-old child was killed in Kallar Kahar, whereas one casualty was also reported from Kasur after the roof of a house collapsed.

A 14-year-old child died in the Islamgarh area of Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Mirpur region after a school wall collapsed.

A wall collapsed in Sargodha, killing one woman and injuring 10 people, while three are injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

13 people were killed in Chitral, which is closest to the epicentre of the earthquake. A child has reportedly died a the roof of a house collapsed in Raja Bazaar area of Rawalpindi.

One child was killed after the wall of a school collapsed in Miani Adda area of Punjab’s Chakwal district. Three people will reported killed in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Several landslides have been reported in mountainous areas of the country, leading to fears that the death toll may increase.

Scores injured
At least 194 injured were brought to Swat’s Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital, which does not have adequate medical facilities.

More than 100 wounded have been admitted to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

Tremors have been felt in major cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Kohat and Malakand.

Paramedics treat a man injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. -AFP
Paramedics treat a man injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. -AFP
Rescue 1122 has been put on high alert in Punjab. The disaster response force is on standby and a code red has been imposed, Director General Rescue Punjab Retd Brig Dr Ashraf Zia said. Rescue 1122 Spokesman Jam Sajjad said there were no reports of any deaths in Lahore.

Communication services have been disrupted in Islamabad, where walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Holy Quran.

A building has also reportedly collapsed in Peshawar. Several mud huts collapsed in Balochistan’s Zhob district.

Citizens took to social media to post reports of the massive quake that lasted for up to one minute.

Tremors were also felt in Kabul and New Delhi.

The full extent of the damage and the number of possible casualties is not yet known.

7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) initially measured the quake’s intensity at 7.7 then revised it down to 7.6 and later to 7.5.

Map showing the epicentre of the quake. ─ USGS
Map showing the epicentre of the quake. ─ USGS
Vineet Gahlot, the director of seismology at the Indian Meteorological Department, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.7 and an epicentre deep in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Pakistan state TV reported the same magnitude.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department, however, said the magnitude of the earthquake was 8.1.

The quake was 196km deep and centred 82km southeast of Feyzabad in a remote area of Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

According to USGS, the epicentre is 67km from Chitral.

Rescue operation
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all federal, civil, military and provincial agencies to declare an immediate alert and mobilise all resources to ensure the security of citizens of Pakistan. All agencies have been directed to move out with their resources.

President Mamnoon Hussain has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the natural calamity.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has directed army personnel to reach out where required to help affected people without waiting for orders.

Pakistan and the region, along an active continental plate boundary, is often hit by earthquakes. In September 2013, a magnitude-7.7 quake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province, killing around 800 people. In 2005, the country was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless.

Afghanistan and India
Afghanistan’s CEO Abdullah Abdullah said reports of damage and injuries were coming in from Afghanistan’s northeast.

According initial reports, 15 people have been killed in Afghanistan.

“Disasters authorities to meet within the hour and respond to the needs,“ he tweeted.

Traffic came to a stop in downtown Kabul, with people getting out of their cars as they waited for the quake to pass.

Afghan media reported the deaths of 21 people and 40 wounded.

As buildings shook throughout north India, hundreds of people poured onto the streets from office blocks, hospitals and and homes, AFP reporters and TV footage showed.

Delhi’s metro ground to a halt during the tremor although the airport continued operating.

“All of around 190 trains plying on the tracks were stopped at the time of the earthquake. The lines and the trains are now being restored after basic inspection of respective lines,” Anuj Dayal, Delhi Metro spokesman told AFP.

Cell phone networks were down in the Kashmir region

Eyewitness accounts

An Abbottabad resident, Shoaib,the earthquake triggered landslides in the area.

In pictures shared by Islamabad residents on Twitter, people are seen standing on roads after feeling tremors.

Also read: ‘Disasters are all manmade, there’s nothing natural about them’

─ This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.