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Tremor rocks Kashmir, Pakistan

Shujaat Bukhari

No casualties reported, terrified people rush out of homes

SRINAGAR: Two months after the devastating October 8 earthquake, a strong tremor at dead of night jolted Kashmiris out of their sleep and sent them scurrying on the streets.

The quake of magnitude 6.7 also rocked Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was recorded in Peshawar, Chitral, Deer, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sialkot, Gilgit, Skardu and other parts of the Northern Areas at 2.48 a.m. (3.18 a.m. IST). The epicentre was 90 km from Chitral and 300 km from Peshawar in the Hindukush region. Though houses were damaged, there are no reports of causalities in any of the areas.

The tremor was felt in Kashmir at 3.22 a.m. on Tuesday. The terrified people rushed out, notwithstanding the severe cold. A power cut in force in most parts of Srinagar added to the fear and confusion, as the people there could not even come out.

People who ran out of their houses remained outside for a while as they feared more tremors.

"We rushed out of our home, without a thought of the cold or the security situation," said Asif Ahmed, a businessman from Lal Bazar. "Our men are surveying remote villages but there are no casualties so far," a senior police officer said.

The panic was greater in Uri and Tangdhar districts, which were badly affected by the October 8 earthquake. "People rushed out of their sheds and tents despite the harsh winter conditions," said Mukhtar Ahmed, a resident of Uri.

It was the biggest in the region since the October 8 quake, which killed 1,300 people in the State and injured over 6,000.

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