Paksitan-Afghanistan quake toll rises to 350

Islamabad/Kabul Oct 27 (IANS) The toll from Monday’s earthquake that jolted India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, has risen to 350 in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the media reported on Tuesday.

Pakistani government, army and charity organisations continued rescue efforts on Tuesday after a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake jolted parts of the South Asian region, with Hindu Kush region as epicentre, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to local media, the death toll in Pakistan has crossed 270 with over 2,000 injured. Over 2,500 houses were damaged due to the quake that hit the country at 2.09 p.m. (local time).

However, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan confirmed 230 deaths and 1,629 injuries.

The toll of the quake is expected to rise further as remote areas could not be assessed due to landslides and disruption in communication.

Most of the rescue teams were dispatched to the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, one of the worst-hit areas, where 185 people were killed and 2,102 houses were damaged.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the quake-affected area of KPK province on Tuesday.

Sharif said that compensation would be announced after consultation with KPK Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.

“No stone will be left unturned in providing relief and rehabilitation,” Sharif told the local residents following his meeting with key government officials.

Asim Bajwa, spokesperson of Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said that a special C-130 cargo plane with seven tons of ration, 2,500 ready meals, additional medical teams, 1,000 tents and blankets, was flying in KPK on Tuesday.

Spokesperson of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) Khalid bin Majeed said their workers have rescued and gave on-the-spot treatment to more than 500 injured people in all affected areas.

The international community including India, the US and the UN have expressed sorrow over the loss of lives and offered assistance in government-led rescue operations.

The meteorological office said over 20 aftershocks followed the major shock in the same area.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday said the death toll of the earthquake in Afghanistan has risen to 115 while the number of injuries has gone up to 538.

A total of 7,630 homes, 12 schools, 17 mosques, 20 office buildings have been damaged in nine provinces, Ghani said on his twitter account.

Rescue and relief workers increased emergency response to victims of the disaster in northern and eastern provinces.

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