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26 killed, over 300 hurt as quake jolts PoK

By The Assam Tribune

ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: A powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake jolted Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and several cities in the northeastern parts of the country on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and wounding over 300 others.

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre of the quake was near New Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The depth of the quake, which occurred at 4.02 pm (local time) was at 10 km. According to the Home Department, 26 people were killed and over 300 injured in Mirpur and surrounding areas.

Pakistan Meteorological Department�s earthquake centre said the 5.8-magnitude earthquake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in Punjab province. However, Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry said that the intensity of the quake was 7.1.

Some houses collapsed in Mirpur following the earthquake, Deputy Commissioner Raja Qaiser said. Parts of a mosque also collapsed in the area. Emergency has been declared in hospitals across PoK.

TV channels showed the footage of heavily damaged roads in Mirpur, with many vehicles overturned. Several cars fell into the deep cracks on the roads. The building of the state-run Broadcasting House in Mirpur was badly damaged.

Several cities including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Skardu, Kohat, Charsadda, Kasur, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock and Jhang felt the tremor.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session, expressed grief over the loss of human life. He directed all the concerned departments to provide immediate assistance to the quake-hit areas. President Arif Alvi also expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives. Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed an immediate rescue operation in PoK. Army troops with aviation and medical support teams have been dispatched, the media wing of the army tweeted.

In 2005, a similar powerful quake had killed nearly 90,000 people in PoK and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. � PTI

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