Death toll in Asian quake tops 700
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapc...tan/index.html Death toll in Asian quake tops 700 Official says number of dead could reach into the thousands (CNN) -- At least 746 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake -- estimated to be the most intense in the region in the last century -- jolted residents of the south Asian subcontinent. But officials warned the death toll from Saturday's quake could be in the thousands in Pakistan, India, the Pakistani- and Indian-administered areas of Kashmir, and in Afghanistan. The effects of the quake -- with an epicenter 60 miles (about 97 kilometers) north-northeast of Islamabad near Pakistani-controlled Kashmir -- were felt as far as 400 miles away Saturday with aftershocks sweeping the region. At least 554 of those were in Pakistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, authorities said. They included a girl killed when her school was damaged in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad; 12 people in Islamabad; 80 people in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir; and 100 in Pakistan's North-West Frontier province. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, Vijay Bakaya, secretary to the chief minister, initially said at least 157 people were dead and 600 injured. Later, however, police in the area said the total was estimated at about 200. Bakaya said some 500 homes in the region had been destroyed. The quake also killed one person in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Some houses in the region reportedly collapsed. Damage and casualties were also reported in remote northeast Afghanistan. "This was the strongest earthquake in the area during the last hundred years," Qamar Uz Zaman, director-general of the Pakistani Meteorological Department, told CNN. Although the final death toll will not be known until some of Pakistan's remote areas can be reached, "one can see from the widespread damage that it has caused, and the number of houses that have been damaged, that the number of dead or injured could be running into thousands," said Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistani army spokesman.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-news/5703-death-toll-asian-quake-tops-700-a.html In addition, several northern villages may be demolished, officials warned. "This is really a very serious and very grave situation," said Anisa Zaib Tahir Khali, Pakistan's minister of state for information. A series of aftershocks, including one of 6.3 magnitude and four more at 5.4 or above, rattled the region, creating new panic among residents. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, many people refused to return indoors out of fear of a new quake. Frantic efforts to rescue survivors were under way in Islamabad, where an apartment building collapsed. Elsewhere in Pakistan, preliminary reports indicate "widespread damage," particularly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and the country's northern area, Sultan told CNN. But communication disruptions in those areas meant information was sketchy, he said. A helicopter rescue operation was launched. Video footage from Pakistani television showed crowds of people climbing on the rubble of a collapsed apartment building and attempting to free those trapped under large concrete slabs. Some of the injured were carried away on stretchers. Between 150 to 200 people are trapped under the debris of the building, called the Margallah Towers, according to Pakistan's interior minister, Aftab Sherpao. Buildings nearby have been evacuated and other structures in the area were damaged. City officials are trying to obtain heavy earth and rubble moving machinery from the private sector to help rescue the trapped people. The temblor's epicenter was more than 6 miles below the Earth's surface, according to the Web site of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center. The quake, which struck about 8:50 a.m. local time (11:50 p.m. Friday EDT), was believed to be the strongest in Pakistan in nearly 20 years. Many citizens were still in their beds at the time of the quake. Witness Malik Abdul Manan said he and his family "woke up and ran out. The shocks went on for a long time." (Survivors describe shock awakening) The quake was "quite shallow," said David Applegate, senior science advisor for earthquake and geologic hazards for the U.S. Geological Survey. "That means the shaking is going to be very intense." The fact that Islamabad was near the epicenter "means a fairly large urban population has experienced some strong shaking," Applegate said. There have been some initial aftershocks, he said, "and we expect quite a number more" -- some in the 6-plus magnitude range. Those aftershocks could cause additional damage to structures already weakened by the first quake, he said. A string of about six aftershocks, some ranging between magnitude 5 and 6, were recorded, said Qamar. More were expected in the next 48 hours. The quake also triggered landslides, resulting in the closure of some highways, officials said. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz met in Rawalpindi on Saturday, according to a statement issued by the government, and "expressed their profound grief over the tragic loss of life and damage to property as a result of the quake." The two asked federal and provincial governments to mobilize all resources and speed recovery operations, and Aziz flew over Islamabad to assess the damage. "The president and prime minister have appealed to the nation to stay calm in the face of the earthquake and have directed the concerned authorities to carry out an immediate assessment of the extent of damage caused by it," the statement said. Applegate said Pakistan traditionally has been an active region for earthquakes. Saturday's quake was a "thrust" earthquake, caused by friction between the Indian subcontinent as it pushes against Asia. Although it is the same kind of mechanism that creates tsunamis, the quake was centered far enough inland that there was no danger of a tsunami, he said. Buildings swayed 400 miles away However, the Pakistani Meteorological Department's Zaman said the region of Pakistan where the quake was centered has been fairly inactive during the last century. The quake was also felt in India and Afghanistan. In New Delhi, some 406 miles from Islamabad, buildings swayed and furniture moved, causing widespread panic among residents, many of whom rushed into the streets. The Indian government activated its national disaster plan. The National Earthquake Information Center put the quake at 7.6 magnitude, which it considers "major." The Pakistani Meteorological Department put the magnitude at 7.5, and Japan's Meteorological Agency put it at 7.8.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=5703 In February 2004, a pair of earthquakes registering 5.5 and 5.4 magnitude, respectively, killed at least 21 people and injured dozens more and destroyed hundreds of homes built of mud, stone and timber in a rugged, mountainous area about 90 miles northwest of Islamabad. In January 2001, some 30,000 people died in a magnitude 7.7 quake in western India. CNN Senior International Correspondent Satinder Bindra, CNN Producers Syed Mohsin Naqvi and John Raedler and Journalists Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar and Tom Coghlan in Kabul contributed to this rep Got anything to share on This Topic? Why not share your immediate thoughts/reaction with us! Login Now! or Sign Up Today! to share your views... Gurfateh!
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