NEW DELHI : The death toll from an earthquake that struck Pakistani Kashmir jumped to 37, officials said on Wednesday, as families mourned relatives and rescue teams sent supplies to the area.

Officials said the extent of the casualties, who included young children, emerged a day after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck as authorities were able to reach towns and villages around the region outside main population centres.

"We had dispatched survey teams in the entire area affected by the earthquake to collect details of the victims," Muhammad Tayyab, divisional commissioner for Mirpur, one of the worst affected areas, told Reuters, adding that around 500 people had been injured.

Tuesday's earthquake levelled homes and shops and split open roads in an area between the towns of Jhelum and Mirpur to the north, part of which is in Pakistan's portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir.

"The situation is slowly returning to normal, the level of panic is now less among the people, although an aftershock was felt at night," said Sardar Gulfaraz Khan, a police deputy inspector general.

Most of the damage happened in villages where old houses collapsed, Khan said.

Shortly after the tremor hit, Pakistan's military dispatched troops and medical teams to the quake-affected area to assist civilian authorities in helping victims (Photo: PTI)
Shortly after the tremor hit, Pakistan's military dispatched troops and medical teams to the quake-affected area to assist civilian authorities in helping victims (Photo: PTI)


"The epicentre of the earthquake was Pakistan-India border, Jammu and Kashmir region. The magnitude of the quake was 6.3 on the Richter scale. Even we felt the tremors here in the office. Tremors were felt across Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir," J.L. Gautam, Director Operation, National Center for Seismology told ANI.

The epicentre of the shallow 5.8-magnitude was near the Pakistan Occupied Kashmiri city of Mirpur, roughly 22 kilometres (14 miles) north of Jhelum in agricultural Punjab province, according to the US Geological Survey.

"The (most) damage is in areas between Jhelum and Mirpur," said the chief of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, Lieutenant General Mohammad Afzal.

"The quake was 10 kilometres deep and was felt in most of Punjab province, some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The worst hit was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir," Pakistan's chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told AFP. District commissioner Mohammad Tayyab said eight people were killed, including three children. District police chief Irfan Saleem said more than 100 more suffered injuries. Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for the Pakistan Armed Forces, tweeted that army troops with aviation and medical support teams were dispatched.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 on the Richter scale and a depth of 40 km hit the Pakistan-India border region at around 4:30 pm. There was no report of any loss of life or property due to the earthquake so far.

"The epicentre was near the India-Pakistan border. The closest big city to the epicentre is Rawalpindi (in Pakistan's Punjab province)," said J L Gautam, head of operations at the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said.

"I don't think that the quake has caused any damage in Delhi but there are several villages with poor constructions, which might get damaged. We can't predict the aftershocks right now," he added.

"European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake of magnitude 6.1 at Richter scale strikes 173 km North West of Lahore, Pakistan," ANI reported.

Pakistan Meteorological Department's earthquake centre, however, said the earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale and its depth was at 10 kilometres.

The earthquake jolted Pakistan as tremors lasted for 8-10 seconds but were felt strongly across the country, including in major cities of Islamabad, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Pakistan's Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in the Punjab province. The tremors shook walls in Islamabad and left people standing in the streets outside.

There are reports of damage to roads and buildings from Mirpur and other areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Reuters reported that one person was killed and several others injured in Jhelum.

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