In Brief

‘At least 25 dead’ in earthquake in Pakistan

Cracks torn into roads by 5.8 magnitude quake

An earthquake has struck eastern Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 25 people and injuring more than 300.

The 5.8 magnitude quake's epicentre was close to the city of Mirpur, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. “The quake was 10km (six miles) deep... the worst hit was Mirpur,” said Pakistan's chief meteorologist, Muhammad Riaz.

The earthquake tore “car-sized cracks into roads” and sent people running into the streets, The Guardian says. Cracks were at least four feet (1.2 metres) deep, some filling with water from a nearby canal.

Al Jazeera reports that many of those who were hurt had serious injuries, and it is likely that the death toll could go up.

Eye witnesses have spoken of their harrowing experiences. “I will never forget the horrible sound,” Muhammad Ramzan, told AFP. “It looked like the entire village tossed and turned and spun around.”

Nabeel Hussain said: “We were sitting having a gossip when suddenly the earthquake shook us all. Fortunately the wall collapsed the other way, burying one of our buffalo.” Naeem Chughtai, a Mirpur resident, said roads, mobile phone towers, and electricity poles in the area were badly damaged.

A shop owner in Mirpur told local television network Geo News that the walls started swaying when the quake struck. “I knew that it is a strong earthquake. The moment I came out of my shop, the roof collapsed,” he said.

Because it straddles part of the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, Pakistan is susceptible to earthquakes.

The country faced a major tragedy when it was hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake in October 2005. It killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless.

In October 2015, a 7.5-magnitude quake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed almost 400 people in rugged terrain that impeded relief efforts.

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