Islamabad | Over 300 people are confirmed to have been killed a day after a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Pakistan and Afghanistan as rescuers scrambled to deliver relief aid to victims. The death toll in the quake, the strongest in 10 years in Pakistan has now risen to 237 from the earlier figure of 228 which included 214 dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 5 in Punjab, and 9 in PoK, local media reports said.
The initial quake struck at 2:09 pm yesterday and was followed by seven aftershocks, measuring as high as magnitude 4.8, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said at least 1,620 people have been injured across Pakistan. Thousands spent the night outdoors in near-freezing temperatures reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks, Pakistani media reported.
In Afghanistan, over 90 people have been killed and 300 injured so far as the death toll is expected to rise, Express News reported. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Islamabad following his US tour. Upon arrival he summoned a meeting to discuss relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake. Pakistan Army rescue teams are conducting assessment of damage and loss of property caused by the quake.
The military said 27 of 45 landslides have been cleared on the strategic Karakoram highway. Capacity of Combined Military Hospitals has also been increased by 30 per cent across the country.
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