Asia was shaken up by an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude Monday, with more than two minutes of sustained trembling and shaking felt in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad, while several buildings rattled in parts of Afghanistan and India. The magnitude was initially measured at 7.7 on the Richter scale but was later downgraded. As of 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday, more than 150 people had been confirmed dead. The total death toll is expected to rise.
According to the U.S. Geological survey, the 212 km-deep quake struck Afghanistan’s mountainous Hindu Kush region, located 45 miles south of Faizabad, sending tremors felt in India and Pakistan. The temblor struck at around 2:10 p.m. (5:10 a.m. ET).
According to The Associated Press, military officials in Pakistan have confirmed the death of at least 123 people; most of those fatalities occurred in the Malakand region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Injured people had reportedly poured into Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital Monday. “We received 50 injured and more are being shifted. The injured suffered multiple injuries due to building collapse,” hospital spokesman Syed Jamil Shah told Reuters.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press also reports that at least 12 students at a girls’ school were killed in a stampede as they tried to get out of a shaking building in Afghanistan’s Takhar province. Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the Takhar provincial governor, said that another 30 girls were rushed to hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan.
There are still no casualties reported from Indian Kashmir, which also felt the tremors of the devastating earthquake.
Earlier, local news channels in Pakistan showed frenzied people fleeing office buildings in Islamabad. Similarly, in Indian capital New Delhi, people gathered on the streets after feeling the tremor. “I just felt it go up and down as if I was on a New York subway on a really rough ride,” said NBC News producer Wajahat S. Khan, who was in Lahore during the quake. “Everything was moving up and down. My lunch on the table was literally just popping up and down.”
In Kabul, cars stopped and screaming residents rushed out of homes, offices and schools.
Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, tweeted that he had ordered an assessment of damage. “We stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he wrote.
The region has a history of powerful earthquakes. In 2005, a 7.6-magnitude quake in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir left more than 75,000 people dead. In April this year, Nepal suffered its worst-ever earthquake that saw ,9000 people killed and about 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed.
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