At least 23 dead, over 300 injured as earthquake jolts AJK, Punjab

Mubashar Naqvi

ISLAMABAD: An earthquake of magnitude 5.6 shook several cities on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people and injuring over 300 others, government officials said.
“At least 19 people have been killed and more than 300 wounded,” said Sardar Gulfaraz, deputy inspector general of police in Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), in televised comments.
The epicentre of the shallow 5.6-magnitude quake was roughly 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Jhelum, Punjab, according to revised data released by the US Geological Survey.
Earlier, it had put the magnitude at 5.8.
The cities where the tremors were felt included Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot, Sargodha, Mansehra, Gujrat, Chitral, Malakand, Swat, Sahiwal, Rahim Yar Khan and Mirpur, among others.
The quake sent people racing out of buildings and offices in cities across the country.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said the injured were being treated in a Mirpur hospital, adding that relief efforts were ongoing.
“Our whole concentration right now is to accelerate the rescue operation,” he told a private TV channel. “There are people who are stuck there and who need immediate help. We are putting in all our resources to get people the best of our help.”
“The (most) damage is in areas between Jhelum and Mirpur,” said the chief of Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, Lt General Mohammad Afzal.
“The earthquake was 10 kilometres deep and was felt in most of Punjab, some parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The worst hit was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir,” chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz said.
Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in New York to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, has expressed grief over the loss of lives and properties in Mirpur Azad Kashmir after a strong earthquake with magnitude 5.8 jolted several parts of the country.
The PM was informed about the earthquake and damages caused by it in New York. He instructed the authorities to immediately provide relief to the victims of earth quake.

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