At least 19 people killed in Pakistan earthquake

24 September 2019, 21:47

Women mourn around the dead body of their family member, who died in a house collapse after a powerful earthquake struck in Sahang Kikri village near Mirpur, in northeast Pakistan
Women mourn around the dead body of their family member, who died in a house collapse after a powerful earthquake struck in Sahang Kikri village near Mirpur, in northeast Pakistan. Picture: PA

By Sylvia DeLuca

A powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake has struck north-east Pakistan, damaging dozens of homes and shops and killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 300.

The full extent of the damage is not yet known.

According to state-run Pakistan Television, four children were among the dead in Mirpur, a town in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.

Raja Qaiser, a deputy commissioner in the region, said rescuers were still taking victims to hospitals in the city, where an emergency was declared.

He said a main road near Mirpur was also badly damaged, causing accidents and damaging buses and other vehicles.

TV footage showed damaged homes, shops and vehicles in Mirpur, where a breach at a main canal was submerging villages.

Women mourn beside the dead body of their family member who died in the earthquake
Women mourn beside the dead body of their family member who died in the earthquake. Picture: PA

According to Pakistan's Meteorological Department, the epicentre of the quake was near the mountainous city of Jehlum in eastern Punjab province. The tremor shook walls across the country and left people waiting in the streets fearing further tremors.

Residents in Islamabad were seen rushing out of multi-storey buildings into the streets.

Shortly after the tremor hit, Pakistan's military dispatched troops and medical teams to the affected area to assist civilian authorities.

Officials said helicopters will be used if needed to evacuate people from the affected area.

People gather next to cracks on a road caused by a powerful earthquake in Jatlan near Mirpur, in northeast Pakistan
People gather next to cracks on a road caused by a powerful earthquake in Jatlan near Mirpur, in northeast Pakistan. Picture: PA

Prime minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi in separate statements expressed their grief over losses caused by the quake.

The tremor was also felt in the north west and in many towns and cities in eastern Punjab province.

A magnitude 7.6 quake in 2005 killed thousands of people in Pakistan and Kashmir.

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