Magnitude 6.4 earthquake shakes parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan but no damage reported
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook parts of Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan on Thursday, sending panicked residents fleeing from their homes and offices and frightening people in remote villages, Pakistani officials and the US Geological Survey said.
The epicentre of the quake was in the Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department. It was the third major earthquake to strike Afghanistan in three months.
It was located 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Jurm village in northeastern Afghanistan at a depth of 206 kilometres (128 miles), the USGS said.
There were no immediate reports of damage in either country.
It was felt in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, and in the major cities of Lahore, Peshawar and Muzaffarabad in the Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.
Sahiba Bibi, a woman who lives on the outskirts of Islamabad, said she was preparing for prayers when she suddenly felt the ground shaking. “We quickly came out of our home and we saw some other people also standing outside their houses,” she said.
Residents in the northwestern city of Peshawar also said they went out of their homes and offices after feeling the earthquake.
“I knew that it should not be less than magnitude 6 when I felt the earthquake as we have felt strong earthquakes in the past,” said Mohammad Khan, 65, in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
Bilal Faizi, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s emergency services in the northwest, said police and rescue officials were ordered to report any damage.
“So far, there has been no reported damage from the earthquake, though the earthquake was so strong that it terrified many people,” he said.
Authorities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir said the earthquake caused no damage there.
Pakistan and the region, which sit along an active continental plate boundary, are often hit by earthquakes.
The quake was also felt in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and in provinces in the east and northeast.
The International Rescue Committee said it was “deeply fearful” about what the earthquake meant for Afghans and the humanitarian response in the country.
Afghanistan is already dealing with the consequences of decades of conflict, climate change and economic crisis, the aid agency said in a statement.
“This is the latest in a string of significant earthquakes that have struck Afghanistan in the last three months, with at least three consecutive earthquakes causing major destruction,” the agency said.