Powerful Earthquake Leaves Six Dead In Pakistan, Afghanistan — Tremors Felt Across North India

A powerful earthquake, measuring magnitude-6.6, struck part of Northern Pakistan and the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border in Asia on Sunday afternoon, NDTV News reports. The earthquake struck during daytime and reportedly started at 3:58 p.m., India time, and went on for several minutes. The epicenter of the earthquake was was located 39 kilometers from the town of Ashkasham, which is around 282 kilometers northeast of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. According to initial reports, the major impact of the tremor was felt within a radius of 200 kilometers from the epicenter.

The effects of the earthquake was also felt by people in several cities in India — including the country’s capital, New Delhi. The Metro Rail service in New Delhi was suspended following the earthquake as a precautionary measure.

Pakistani media reports that strong tremors caused by the earthquake were felt across several cities including Peshawar, Chitral, Swat, Gilgit, Faisalabad, and Lahore.

There have been no reports of any loss of life or property so far. Several people uploaded videos showing the moment the earthquake struck.

Some people even had the time to take a selfie!

This region has experienced earthquakes of similar or larger intensity in the past, as well. The last major earthquake in the area happened back in December, 2015, when a quake, measuring magnitude-6.3, hit the area. Two months prior to that, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the region, killing over 160 people. The most destructive earthquake of recent times was from 2005 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region killing over 80,000 people.

According to 19-year-old Hamza Nadeem a resident of Sialkot, the earthquake lasted one and a half minutes.

“I felt the ceiling fan rattle, then the whole house felt like it was shaking. We all ran outside. It lasted for about one and a half minutes – nothing broke, there was no damage but it was a frightening experience. We all just stood there and prayed,” Nadeem told BBC News.

According to USGS, this earthquake is the result of the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. A statement by the USGS clarifies.

“Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.”

Update: Newest reports suggest that the earthquake was stronger than what was originally reported. While initial reports said that this was a magnitude 6.6 earthquake, an updated report said that it was actually a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Since the epicenter of the earthquake was located in the sparsely populated regions close to the Hindukush mountains, there were little casualties. Initial reports put the death toll at 1. However, it is now thought that at least 6 people died during the earthquake. The first death was reported from Pakistan’s Swat valley where another 30 people are reported injured. The Swat valley was in the news few days ago after unseasonal rains wrecked havoc and caused massive floods in the region. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has confirmed that there were no reports of significant damage to life or property following the earthquake. However, there are concerns over the possibility of landslides.

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