Earthquake hits northern Pakistangreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 13:29 GMT
The quake, measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, hit the Gilgit region, about 400 kilometres (240 miles) north of the capital, Islamabad, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Rescue teams have been sent in but work has been hampered by aftershocks and blocked roads.
Four villages in the Astore valley are among those worst affected by the earthquake, which is the second in the region in less than a month.
Jehangir Khan, an official with the Ministry of Kashmiri Affairs in Islamabad, said: "We are expecting the casualties may rise. We do not have a number for the injured."
According to Mr Khan, the villages - Turbling, Mushin, Dashkin and Harchu - have a combined population of more than 6,000.
The earthquake sent people fleeing from their collapsing houses.
Troops are assisting relief teams who have been sent to help, officials say.
"Rescue efforts commenced this morning and relief has gone in from two directions, from Gilgit and Islamabad," said Information Minister Nisar Memon, who is also in charge of the Northern Areas.
The Karakoram highway, which links Pakistan to China and is built along the ancient Silk Road route, had been cut in several places, the minister said.
Earth tremors and landslides are common in the Karakoram range, where the Indian and Eurasian continental plates collide.
At least 17 people were killed, 65 injured and four villages extensively damaged by an earthquake and subsequent mudslides in the area on 3 November.
In 1974 a huge earthquake, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, killed 5,300 people close to the town of Patan, some 150 kilometres along the Karakoram Highway between Gilgit and Islamabad.
-- Anonymous, November 21, 2002