Asian Quake Leaves Hundreds Dead
Hundreds of people are feared dead after a powerful earthquake on the India-Pakistan border.
A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan-India border Saturday reduced villages to rubble, triggered landslides and flattened an apartment building, killing hundreds of people in both nations. Pakistan’s army called the devastation “a national tragedy.”
In the capitals of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, buildings shook and walls swayed for about a minute, and panicked people ran from their homes and offices. Tremors continued for hours afterward. Communications throughout the region were cut.
Pakistan’s Geo television quoted chief army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan as saying 1,000 people were feared dead. Army officials who flew over quake-hit areas reported seeing hundreds of flattened homes in villages north of the capital, Islamabad. “The damage and casualties could be massive and it is a national tragedy,” Sultan told The Associated Press. “This is the worst earthquake in recent times.”
The U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site the quake hit at 8:50 a.m. local time and had a magnitude of 7.6. It was centered about 60 miles northeast of Islamabad in the forested mountains of Pakistani Kashmir.
Damage was extensive in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan territory divided between India and Pakistan. Officials in the Indian-controlled portion reported at least 190 people killed, including 20 soldiers who perished in a landslide. At least 800 people were injured and about 2,700 homes were destroyed or damaged across Jammu-Kashmir, said senior state official B.B. Vyas.