Pakistan’s death toll from strong earthquake rises to 272

ISLAMABAD — Death toll from the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit parts of Pakistan on Monday rose to 272, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan said Thursday.

According to the NDMA, at least 2,123 people were also injured and 25,364 houses damaged by the earthquake.

Monday’s earthquake hit the country at about 2:09 p.m. local time and its epicenter was determined in Mount Hindu Kush, located along Pakistan-Afghanistan border, with a focal depth of 193 km. The quake was felt in most parts of Pakistan but caused more damages in the northwestern mountainous parts of the country.

The NDMA said 225 people were killed in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the worst hit area, 30 in northwestern tribal regions, 10 in Gilgit-Baltistan, five in eastern Punjab province and two in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Soon after the earthquake, Pakistan army and civil rescue departments, including Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), launched operations in the affected areas and rescued the injured and shifted them to hospitals.

According to the official statistics, Pakistan army, the NDMA and regional departments have provided at least 35,799 tents, 44,655 blankets, 6,200 plastic mates, 645 tons of foods, 14 tons of bottled water and 25 tons of medicines to the affected people in all regions so far.

Pakistan army has also installed 49 water filtration plants in the different areas of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in Britain when the earthquake hit the country, cut his stay short and rushed back and chaired high-level meetings to devise strategy to deal with the disaster.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the prime minister visited the affected areas, got briefing about the losses and rescue efforts, met the affected people and announced a compensation package for them.

Under the relief package, 600,000 Pakistani rupees (around USD5,714) will be given to the family of each deceased, 100,000 rupees (USD952) to each injured and 200,000 rupee (USD1,905) for one who lost his any body part, while 200,000 rupees would be provided for the construction of completely damaged house and 100,000 rupees each for the partially damaged house.

According to officials, the United Nations, the United States, India, Iranian Red Crescent, Turkish Red Crescent and Danish Red Cross and many other nations have offered their help to Pakistan.

The Red Cross Society of China, being the first, on Wednesday handed the Pakistan Red Crescent Society a cash support of 100,000 dollars for the affected people.

Pakistan meteorological department said that after the Monday’s quake, a series of aftershocks ranging from 2.5 to 5.3 magnitudes have been recorded in the country.

Pakistan is among the most earthquake-prone regions of the world with high vulnerability to earthquakes.

In October 2005, a high intensity earthquake measuring 7.4-magnitude hit parts of the country, causing large scale destruction and killing over 80,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands others homeless. PNA/Xinhua