Thousands spent the night outdoors in near-freezing temperatures reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks
Rescuers on Tuesday rushed to deliver relief aid to victims of a massive earthquake that hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing at least 275 people over a wide swath of mostly mountainous terrain.
In Pakistan, 228 people were confirmed dead.
Rescue efforts ongoing
Pakistan Army rescue teams continue its assessment of damage and loss of property caused by the earthquake.
DG ISPR Asim Bajwa confirms intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is currently underway. DG Frontier Works Organisation is at the Karakoram Highway along with troops and ground teams, as well as one helicopter flying in Gilgit-Baltistan and another in Khyber-Pakthunkwa.
EQ Update 27th:Damage assessment Effort;ISR mission flying,DG FWO at KKH with Troops,addition to ground teams,2 helis each flying in GB&KP-1
— AsimBajwa (@AsimBajwaISPR) October 27, 2015
PM arrives in Pakistan
PM Nawaz arrives in Islamabad following his official US tour and a brief stopover in London.
Earlier, PM Nawaz in London en route from an official visit to the US, said he would personally oversee the rescue efforts. “We will try our best to deal with this disaster using our own resources,” he said.
Aftershocks continue to jolt K-P
A 2.3-magnitude earthquake was felt in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday as aftershocks continued to jolt the province, Express News reports.
The earthquake was an aftershock of Monday’s 7.5-magnitude earthquake which stuck Pakistan and Afghanistan killing over 280 people.
Thousands spent the night outdoors in near-freezing temperatures reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks.
“Rescue work is ongoing, and tents, blankets and sleeping mats are being provided,” Latif ur Rehman, a Pakistani disaster management official, told Reuters from Peshawar.
Over 200 killed in Pakistan as 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes
Pakistan’s military and civilian authorities dispatched several helicopters to affected areas to assess damage and run rescue operations, the National Disaster Management Authority said.
Landslides in mountainous northern Pakistan over the weekend caused by heavy rain and snow had already left thousands of tourists stranded.
The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives there and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
UN, US offer help in relief efforts
In Afghanistan, where rescue and relief work is likely to be complicated by security threats created by an escalating Taliban insurgency, more than 50 people were reported dead in several provinces including Badakhshan, where hundreds were killed in mudslides last year.
Hundreds of houses were destroyed, creating additional hardship with winter temperatures setting in. The death toll could climb in coming days because communications were down in much of the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range where the quake was centred.
The initial magnitude 7.5 quake on Monday afternoon was followed by seven aftershocks, measuring as high as magnitude 4.8, according to the US Geological Survey. The latest aftershock came just before dawn on Tuesday.
Historic Peshawar buildings shake and crack
The United States and Iran were among countries that offered to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, which already depends heavily on foreign aid after decades of war that have wrecked its economy and infrastructure.
Massive quake hits Pakistan
The quake was 213 km deep and centred 254 km northeast of Kabul. Dr John Ebel, chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College in the United States, said the depth of the earthquake had limited its severity and meant damage was likely to be spread broadly rather than focused in one disaster zone.
But he said landslides on the unstable slopes of the mountainous region could pose a major problem. “Obviously if a landslide comes into a village, it will take out buildings, but landslides can also take out roads and communications and power systems, so you lose the ability to access remote areas,” he said.
Reporter on ground: Peshawar’s strongest earthquake was like hell
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US Agency for International Development was ready to provide emergency shelter and relief supply kits.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in London en route from an official visit to the US, said he would personally oversee the rescue efforts. “We will try our best to deal with this disaster using our own resources,” he said.