Friday, October 23, 2015
- by Wilson Chowdhry
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.7 has struck northern Pakistan, according to United States Geological Survey. Tremors have been felt in major cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Karachi, Sawat, Noshera, Kohat and Malakand. The earthquake has also been felt across Afghanistan and parts of India. So far the death toll is standing at 45 recorded deaths, however this count is expected to increase. Many buildings have been flattened in the hilly areas of Pakistan in the north, Peshawar being one of the worst hit areas with at least 2 people dead and 164 injured there. Generally the most affected are the poor and vulnerable and we are concerned that some families will be left without adequate shelter as winter approaches.
Mehwish Bhatti our officer based in Islamabad spoke of her fear this morning. She said:
“People from my street felt the earth shuddering, we all came out to see what had happened. Many of us initially thought it may have been a really bad terrorist attack, but the shaking continued for 3 minutes, this is when we realised it was something more serious. People are extremely frightened and new reports of further impending tremors have caused mass hysteria.”
“I have experienced earthquakes before. Around 10 years ago when I was still at school, the whole building shook and an alarm sounded. We were quickly evacuated to the open field by the school for safety, taking nothing with us. That previous tremor was so severe my school was closed for a week for repairs and our belongings were left behind there.”
Despite a small mention of the United States Geological Survey and warning given by them to Pakistan in a news story yesterday. the Government of Pakistan failed to declare a national emergency alert, which is a usual protocol to be followed in such circumstances.