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1700 killed in Pakistan quake

Source: PTI
October 09, 2005 02:57 IST
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More than 1700 people were killed, over 1000 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir alone, when a powerful earthquake jolted Pakistan and triggered landslides and flattened buildings.

Officials said over 1000 people were killed in PoK while at least 700 lost their lives in Islamabad and the North West Frontier Province.

The epicentre of the quake was located 100 km north of Islamabad. The exact location appeared to be the Hazara division in northern areas.

Meanwhile, several parts of the country including Islamabad on Saturday night experienced heavy ice rain.

The ice rain badly affected the efforts to rescue nearly 200 people trapped under the debris of the multi-storey Margala Towers in Islamabad, which collapsed during the quake.

Projecting more than thousand casualties in the quake, Prime Minister Shaukat Asiz on Saturday sought assistance from 'friends all over the world' for relief operations.

Defence ministry spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan said more than 1,000 people could have died in the earthquake. Describing the quake as a national tragedy, he said 'this is the worst earthquake in recent times'.

Army has been deployed to assist the local authorities in relief and rescue operations following the earthquake that measured 7.5 on the Richter scale and struck at 0850 am local time.

Aziz announced Rs 1 billion-relief package from Pakistan government for immediate expenditure for the relief and rescue operations.

"We are mounting a massive relief effort. We are welcoming financial aide from friends. The President's relief funds has been set up and we welcome assistance from friends all over the world," he said.

Earlier Defence spokesman said that the casualties could be in thousands. "The death could be running in the thousands. We do not have an exact figure for casualties at this moment, but it's massive," he said after surveying PoK and other areas.

He said towns areas like Mansehra district in NWFP and Muzaffarabad and its adjourning areas have been 'hardest hit' with heavy building collapses.

PoK President Anwar Khan said Muzafarabad and other parts of PoK suffered heavy damage.

Pakistan army, which had heavy presence in the area, has asked its units to immediately start rescue operations.

Reports said Muzafarabad's main areas like Qazi bazaar, Maidan market and Bank road have been heavily hit and offices, house and shops in several parts of the city collapsed trapping large number of people under the debris.

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