6.3 magnitude quake shakes north India, 19 killed near epicentre in PoK 

People rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several parts of J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan; extensive loss of life and property in PoK

As the earthquake hit the PoK, roads developed deep cracks, several houses collapsed and the upper Jhelum canal’s banks were damaged at various places, inundating villages along the canal (PTI photo).
As the earthquake hit the PoK, roads developed deep cracks, several houses collapsed and the upper Jhelum canal’s banks were damaged at various places, inundating villages along the canal (PTI photo).

PTI

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake with its epicentre near India-Pakistan border shook northern states, including the Delhi-NCR region, on Tuesday, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said.

At least 19 people have been killed while over 300 are reported to be injured in New Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the epicentre of the quake that jolted several cities in northern Pakistan too including capital Islamabad.

In India, however, there was no immediate report of any loss of life or property due to the quake which occurred at 4.33 pm IST along the Jammu and Kashmir region, officials said.

"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 NCS.

People rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

"I was preparing for my semester examination when I suddenly felt my chair and table shaking. I immediately ran outside," said a 15-year-old student who resides on the 11th floor of a building in Zirakpur in Punjab on the outskirts of Chandigarh.

Tremors were also felt in Shimla, Mandi, Kangra, Una and other parts of Himachal Pradesh.

However, there was considerable damage in New Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. According to US Geological Survey, the epicentre of quake was near New Mirpur in PoK.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police in Mirpur, Sardar Gulfaraz Khan, told the media that at least 19 people were killed and over 300 injured in Mirpur and surrounding areas due to the powerful quake.

Pakistan Meteorological Department's earthquake centre said the 5.8-magnitude earthquake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in Punjab province. Its depth was at 10 kilometres. However, Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry said that the intensity of the quake was 7.1.

Some houses collapsed in Mirpur following the earthquake, Deputy Commissioner Raja Qaiser said. Parts of a mosque also collapsed in the area, which is severely affected by the quake. Emergency has been declared in hospitals across PoK.

TV channels showed the footage of heavily damaged roads in Mirpur, with many vehicles overturned. Several cars fell into the deep cracks on the roads.

The quake was powerful and created panic as people ran out of building, eyewitnesses said.

The Army has been pressed into relief and rescue troops with aviation and medical support teams.

Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said that most of the damage was done in Mirpur and Jhelum. "We are assessing the damage to life and property," he said.

Several cities including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Skardu, Kohat, Charsadda, Kasur, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock and Jhang felt the tremor.

Pakistan's major water reservoir Mangla Dam located near Mirpur remained safe, officials said. Mangla dam powerhouse has been closed, cutting off 900 MW power supply to the national grid, they said.

However, upper Jhelum canal was damaged and water inundated various villages.

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