Death toll in earthquake reaches to 37

MIRPUR: The 5.8 magnitude earthquake, that struck Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Mirpur, upped the death toll to 37 on Wednesday, aftershocks continue.
According to detail, Mirpur Divisional Commissioner (MDC) Muhammad Tayyab confirmed that 37 people lost their lives,while 460 others are injured,whereas 160 moreare in critical condition.
Tuesday’s tremors were also felt in several cities of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Earlier, figures showed that the worst-hit was Mirpur with 24 dead, 9 in Jatlan and one person lost his life in Jhelum.
During a visit to the affected area, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman lieutenant general (Lt Gen) Muhammad Afzalsaid the Pakistan Army has begun repair work on damaged roads. “By tomorrow, small vehicles will be able to use the roads that were affected by the earthquake,” Lt Gen Afzal mentioned. He added that at least 1,000 food aid packages will reach the affected area at earliest and that tents will be provided to those whose houses were damaged or destroyed. As aftershocks continue to rock the region, many left their homes and spent the night on the roadside or in parks.
“The situation is slowly returning to normal, the level of panic is now less among the people, although an aftershock was felt at night,” Police Deputy Inspector SardarGulfaraz Khan said.
Jatlan road, a major thoroughfare of the area, is now reportedly open for traffic, while the main highway and several bridges that were damaged in the quake and are not open for commute.
Widespread power outages have also been reported from the area as local infrastructure, including transformers and electric poles, received significant damage.
Residents were seen inspecting the damage inflicted upon their homes, with large cracks defacing walls in the houses that still stood.
“I lost my house. I lost everything,” Abdullah Khan said, whose three-bedroom home in Jatlan village on the outskirts of Mirpur was flattened. “I was going to see a friend when the entire area shook with a bang and a huge wall crumbled over me. When I regained my senses I found myself here in this bed of Mirpur hospital,” a student Ali Badshah said.
People are also experiencing water and food shortages and reports have emerged of looting in the Sang and Sanwal Sharif area.
Pakistan Army troops arrived, earlier, to provide relief and continue the survey of the affected region. The rescue 1122 dispatched vehicles and other life-saving equipment to the area. Tuesday quake resurrected the haunting memories of monster tremors that wreaked havoc in the region 14 years ago. The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at around 4 pm at a depth of 10 kilometers (kms), was near Mirpur in AJK, roughly 20 kms north of Jhelum in Punjab, according to the United States (US) Geological Survey.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, AJK Information Minister MushtaqMinhas said the rescue missions using army aviation helicopters have almost reached to all the affected regions. He expected that the rescue mission will be completed by the next few hours, to pave way for further relief operations.
Minhas said that so far at least 500 injured people have been brought to the hospitals.
He said rescuers were moving to far-flung villages to find injured or trapped people in Mirpur district, bordering Pakistani province of Punjab and the Riasi district of the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). “Rescue operations are about to be completed. Now, relief operation will begin to provide shelter to residents, whose homes were damaged by the earthquake,” Minhas said.