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25 killed, 400 injured as earthquake hits Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD, AJK: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled north-eastern Pakistan on Tuesday leaving at least 25 people dead and hundreds injured.

Initial reports quote not less than 400 injured by the quake that hit the region at 4:00pm PST.

The epicenter lay 22.3 kilometres north of Jhelum, along the boundary of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

“The earthquake was 10km deep and felt in most of Punjab and some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, the worst hit was Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir,” Chief Meteorologist Mohammad Riaz told media.

Officials have not been able to calculate the complete extent of damages.

Cell phone service and electricity supply was also suspended in rural areas by the quake disabling people from contacting their friends and family.

However, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt-Gen Mohammad Afzal said the situation was under control and rescue operation was underway.

“Mangla Dam is completely safe.”

AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, who was in Lahore since Monday to attend Kashmir-related events, cut short his visit and reached Mirpur to supervise rescue, relief and rehabilitation services, his office said in a statement.

Mirpur Divisional Commissioner Mohammad Tayyab explained that since the epicenter was close to AJK, several houses, infrastructure and vehicles were destroyed alongside loss of lives near Mirpur.

He said the people were caught off guard by the unexpected calamity.

A student of Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) jumped from the second floor of the varsity in panic, resulting in serious injuries and later death while he was being taken to the hospital.

“A state of emergency has been declared in all public and private hospitals of Mirpur,” AJK Minister for Sports, Youth and Culture Chaudhry Mohammad Saeed told media.