Quake, Floods Kill Dozens in Pakistan

Quake, Floods Kill Dozens in PakistanQuake, Floods Kill Dozens in Pakistan

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck very close to Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad early Saturday, killing at least three people, while rains and floods have left at least 36 dead and affected more than 250,000 people, officials said on Saturday.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a moderate magnitude, but its epicenter was only 16 km northeast of the populous city. It reportedly struck at around 2:00 a.m. local time on Saturday and was very shallow, 26 km deep, AP reported.

Residents of the Pakistani capital reported buildings and vehicles shaking after the quake hit, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

“The quake was felt in several Pakistani cities in the provinces of eastern Punjab and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Ghulam Rasul, a senior meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, said.

Pakistan was hit by a magnitude 7.6 quake in October 2005, that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake devastated several areas in southwestern Balochistan province in September 2013, killing at least 370 people and leaving 100,000 homeless.

This is while severe weather has caused havoc in the north and south of the country, sweeping away dozens of roads and bridges in Chitral district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Floods have inundated villages in south Punjab, according to government authorities.

“According to the reports we have received until now, 26 people have been killed in Chitral, three in Punjab province and seven in Baluchistan,” said Ahmed Kamal, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority.

“Up to 350 villages have been damaged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 422 in Punjab. An overall population of 250,000 has been affected due to floods.”