1 Dead as quake jolts parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan

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A man was killed and 11 others sustained injuries as an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the open-ended Richter scale hit parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan on Saturday.

According to American geological survey, the epicenter of the quake was located in Afghanistan at a depth of 10 kilometres. However, Zahid Rafi, director of Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, was quoted as saying that the epicenter of the quake was in the Patan area in Kohistan district at a depth of 12 kilometers. It said the quake measured 5.4.

Reports said that one Mohammad Haleem, a resident of Jugan Satbanni village, was killed after heavy boulders fell on him when the earthquake jolted the area and caused panic among the people.

The sources in the Health Department said that 11 people were injured in the Kaghan valley and were taken to hospitals after their houses were destroyed by the earthquake.

Some of the injured were referred to hospitals in Mansehra and Abbottabad due to their critical condition.

The communication system was badly affected in Naran, the commercial headquarters of Kaghan valley, because of the earthquake.

The tremors were also felt in other parts of Hazara division, including Abbottabad, and in Swat and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The locals and tourists, who were present in Kaghan valley, were scared following the tremors at night. The hoteliers said the tourists left the valley early morning. Kaghan is a major tourist destination in northwest Pakistan.

“We should not be astonished at frequent tremors in Kaghan valley as it is located in an active seismic faultline,” a meteorologist at Monitoring Centre at the Meteorology Department in Islamabad said.

It may be recalled that more than 80,000 people were killed in the October 8, 2005 earthquake in Balakot and in neighbouring Azad Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the people in Malakand division also felt the tremor, which lasted 20 seconds and measured 5.5 on the Richter scale. The earthquake jolted Swat, Shangla, Buner, Upper Dir, Lower Dir and Chitral districts in Malakand division.

However, there were no reports yet of loss of life and property.

The people took to open spaces and left their homes reciting the “Kalima” and verses of the holy Quran when the earthquake struck.

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