7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes Afghanistan
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck northern Afghanistan at around 2.10 pm local time. Tremors were felt as far as Pakistan, India and Kyrgyzstan. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake, originating 196 km beneath the ground, had its epicentre around 82km south-east of Fazyabad, Afghanistan. The full extent of the damage is yet to be assessed, but atleast 69 people have been killed.
Pakistan's earthquake fears
On 8th October 2005, a similar earthquake struck Pakistan. Originating near the city of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the 7.6 magnitude earthquake left atleast 87,350 people dead and over 3.5 million people homeless.
The main 7.5 magnitude earthquake was followed by two aftershocks - the first one measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale occurred 40 minutes after the main quake, while the second measured 4.7 on the Richter scale.
The effects of the quake in Afghanistan
The Afghan capital, Kabul, experienced widespread power cuts and communication failure after tremors were felt for 45 seconds. 12 school girls were killed in a stampede in the Afghan city of Taluq, while another 30 school girls were reportedly hospitalised. As of 4.40 pm IST, Reuters reported that atleast 17 people had been killed in Afghanistan alone, and at least 55 have been injured.
The quake in numbers
According to Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR-NGRI) Chief Scientist D. Sri Nagesh, the energy released from the main 7.5 magnitude earthquake was equivalent to 50 times the impact of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Pakistan, worst hit by the quake
Tremors were felt across the Pakistani cities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Kohat and Malakand. According to Pakistani rescue officials, 145 people have been killed in Pakistan alone. At least 194 injured were brought to Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital in Swat, Pakistan, and another 100 were admitted to Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital. There are widespread fears of massive landslides.
Modi tweets in response
In response to the earthquake, PM Modi stated that the Indian government was willing to provide assistance. He tweeted, "I have asked for an urgent assessment, and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan and Pakistan."
The effects of the quake in India
The earthquake's effects were felt across several states like Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In northern Kashmir's Baramulla district, two army personnel were injured during the collapse of a bunker, while the flyover at Jehangir Chowk in Srinagar developed cracks. Metro rail services were suspended in Delhi, and 24 battalions of the National Disaster Response Force were put on standby.
Metro comes to a halt, disaster management initiated
Delhi government initiated the disaster control units soon after powerful tremors jerked the national capital making people scamper for defense. The Delhi metro system too was brought to a halt and later ran at a very slow pace to ensure safety. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted the people to "stay calm & do not panic. Disaster management teams have been activated".