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Powerful earthquake jolts Kashmir Valley

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 13, 2005 13:31 IST
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A powerful earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale jolted both sides of Kashmir, triggering panic among survivors of October's devastating earthquake, who came out from their makeshift shelters in freezing temperatures.

There were no reports of any damage or casualty.

The quake, epicentred in the Hindukush mountain range of Afghanistan, was felt at 0317 IST this morning in Uri, Srinagar and the national capital New Delhi. The temblor was epicentred at 36.8 degree north latitude and 70.7-degree east longitude, the Met department said in Delhi.

Because of the freezing temperature outside, people who had rushed out of their tents went back to their dwellings but kept awake fearing more aftershocks. Birds were also spotted flying from their nests.

Official sources said there have been no reports of casualties or damage. Panic-stricken residents anxiously telephoned relatives and friends to inquire about their safety.

Associated Press quoted an official at the Peshawar earthquake centre as saying the quake 'must be' about magnitude 6.5 and struck shortly before 3 am local time. Reports said residents in cities across northern Pakistan also rushed out into the streets in panic.

On October 8, an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 killed approximately 87,000 people in Pakistan and the Indian side of Kashmir.

Besides Kashmir's Uri, Srinagar and parts of Pak-Occupied Kashmir, the tremor was also felt in the national capital New Delhi and adjoining areas.

In Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK, which bore the brunt of October 8 quake claiming nearly 87,000 lives in Pakistan, many survivors rushed from their tents and houses still left standing by the original disaster.

"It was very strong. People came out of their tents and started screaming and reciting verses from the Koran," resident Sarfraz Ahmad was quoted as saying by AFP.

"The people living in buildings spared by the big quake were the most terrified," he added. "Now everyone is getting back into their shelters. They are reluctant, but they have no choice because the cold is unbearable." Afghanistan Interior Ministry Spokesman Yousuf Stanizai was quoted by AFP as saying that preliminary reports from all provinces indicated there were no casualties.

The tremor, epicentred about 95 km southeast of Faizabad, the capital of sparsely populated Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, was felt in the Afghan capital Kabul as also Jalalabad and Pakistani city of Peshawar.

 There were unconfirmed reports of damaged homes in the Shahri Buzurg district to the northwest -- but no casualties -- and that authorities were still trying to contact other districts, according to Afghan officials. There were also reports of landslides near the town of Bagh in PoK, one of the areas worst hit by the October quake.

Mukhtar Ahmad adds from Srinagar:

A major earth quake early Tuesday send shock waves among the already panicky locals in Kashmir.

Met department officials said it is not an aftershock of the October 8 temblor, but a new event that originated in the Hindukush Mountain range.

The panic stricken people in Jammu Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar and other towns came out of their homes in sub-zero winter temperature and many chose to stay outdoors.

"It looked like this time we had had it. I was thrown out of my bed and we all ran out of our home. I heard children crying in panic. Everyone in our locality was out in the open," said Mushtaq Ahmad a Srinagar resident.

Deputy Inspector-General of police Farooq Ahmad said there was no report of any casualties so far.

There were no reports of casualties, but several houses in Uri, Fafiabad and Baramulla in north Kashmir, which had bore the brunt of the October 8 quake were further damaged, official sources said in Srinagar.

Officials were still trying to contact remote mountainous regions to assess the full damage of the quake.

Also read:
How the quake changed Pakistan
Pak army sells quake victims' tents
As bodies rot, they steal kidneys


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