Powerful earthquake strikes Afghanistan, causes deaths in neighbouring Pakistan

Strong earthquake from Afghanistan rattles northeastern Pakistan as well, leaving at least 12 dead, scores injured.

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (OCTOBER 26, 2015) (REUTERS) – At least 12 people were killed and scores injured on Monday (October 26) in northeastern Pakistan when a strong earthquake hit neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistani health officials and police said.

An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck northeastern Afghanistan, the U.S. Geological Survey said, sending tremors that were felt in India and Pakistan.

The quake was 213km (132miles) deep and centered 82 km (51 miles) southeast of Feyzabad in a remote area of Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

In Peshawar, people who had evacuated buildings stood looking up at the cracked walls. One man was seen shaking debris from his hair.

Injured people were pouring into Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, an official said.

In the Pakistani capital Islamabad, people rushed out of houses and buildings in panic

Ambulance driver, Tahir Iqbal, said he was sitting in his vehicle when it started shaking.

“I was sitting in my vehicle. The ambulance started shaking. I went to the back of the ambulance thinking that someone was shaking the vehicle but there was no one there. Then I looked at the house in front of me, and it was literally quivering. I started reciting the Holy Koran,” Iqbal said.

School children who were coming out of their schools, were equally terrified.

“Me and my sister was there. We were buying something. There was movement. My brother came and he was saying ‘sit down, sit down, na.’ We were sitting, and the cars were moving. And from that building, there was shouting from the buildings and I was so scared,” said nine-year-old schoolgirl Anum Khan.

Some office buildings suffered cracks in the walls.

“It was a severe earthquake. We told the students to rush out, and they all started going out. We rushed down amid the shouting and screaming. It lasted for around a minute or more. There were extremely severe shocks. After five minutes, when we went up, the building has suffered damage. There are cracks in the walls,” said Mohammad Ali who teaches in a private college located in Ayub Market in Islamabad.

The USGS initially measured the quake’s intensity at 7.7 then revised it down to 7.6 and later to 7.5.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, buildings shook violently. Officials said at least 17 people were killed in Afghanistan.

International aid agencies working in the northern areas of Afghanistan reported that cell phone coverage in the affected areas remained down in the hour after the initial quake.

India’s northernmost region of Kashmir experienced intense and prolonged tremors that caused panic in areas that suffered severe flooding last year. Power supplies and most mobile networks were knocked out, and there was structural damage to roads and buildings.

No casualties were reported in Indian Kashmir, however

Buildings shook for well over a minute in the Indian capital, New Delhi, sending office workers scurrying onto the streets.

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record, on April 24. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives and damaging or destroying 900,000 homes.

The mountainous region is a seismically active region, with earthquakes the result of the Indian subcontinent driving into and under the Eurasian landmass. Such tectonic shifts can cause enormous and destructive releases of energy.

A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck northern Pakistan just over a decade ago, on Oct. 8, 2005, killing about 75,000 people.