By Asad Hashim
ISLAMABAD, April 11 – Six people were killed across northern Pakistan although there appeared to be no widespread damage after a strong earthquake rattled major cities across South Asia at the weekend, authorities said on Monday.
The 6.6-magnitude quake on Sunday startled residents in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and forced some in high-rise buildings to flee into the streets of the Indian capital, New Delhi.
It was also felt in Islamabad and in Lahore in Pakistan‘s east, about 630 km (390 miles) from the quake’s epicentre in remote northeastern Afghanistan, just inside the border with Tajikistan and across a narrow finger of land from Chitral – a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan‘s northwest.
Pakistan‘s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said five people were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Another was killed in northern Gilgit-Baltistan state, the NDMA said. At least seven people were reported injured across Pakistan, many of them in the northwestern frontier city of Peshawar.
There were no immediate reports of widespread damage in either Afghanistan or India, despite the quake rattling buildings in all three countries for more than a minute.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at a depth of about 210 km (130 miles).
Despite its depth, the quake still caused widespread panic in areas such as Chitral, a Reuters witness and a villager in the area said.
“It was a very dangerous situation, because our houses were already damaged from recent rainfall,” said Isa Khan, whose home in the village of Susoom, about 25 km (15 miles) north of Chitral, suffered moderate damage.
Most of the homes in his village are made of mud and brick. “We saw a lot of walls being damaged in front of us,” Khan said.
Pakistan‘s NDMA said in a statement the air force had been asked to conduct an aerial photography survey to assess the damage in mountainous Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Khan said Chitral residents were still awaiting compensation after a 7.5-magnitude quake hit the area on Oct. 26 last year, killing more than 300 people and destroying thousands of homes.
The Hindu Kush area between Pakistan and Afghanistan is seismically active, with quakes often felt across a region where the Indian and Eurasian continental plates collide.
Just over a decade ago, a 7.6-magnitude quake in another part of northernPakistan killed about 75,000 people.