Earthquake of 5.8 magnitude in Pakistan leaves at least 22 dead

A powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck northeast Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 22 people and injuring over 700, officials said.

The quake badly damaged a key road leading to the town of Mirpur in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir and adjoining villages, where most of the damage was located.

Mushtaf Minhas, information minister in Pakistan-held Kashmir, said 22 people were killed in the quake, mostly due to collapsing roofs and walls.

A doctor in a village hospital near Mirpur said they treated 700 people, most of whom were later discharged or referred to the district's main hospital, where better health facilities were available.

A deputy commissioner said rescuers were still transporting victims to hospitals in Mirpur and an emergency was declared in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

He said a main road near Mirpur was also badly damaged, causing accidents and damaging vehicles.

An Associated Press reporter saw dozens of partially damaged homes along a road leading to Mirpur, where doctors were treating quake victims in open areas outside the city's main government-run hospital due to a shortage of beds.

TV footage also showed cracked roads, damaged homes, shops and vehicles in Mirpur, where a breach at a main canal was submerging villages.

According to Pakistan's Meteorological Department, the epicentre of the quake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in the eastern Punjab province. The earthquake shook walls across the country and left people waiting in the streets fearing aftershocks.

Mohammad Afzal, chairman of National Disaster Management Authority, said the country's main Mangla Dam located in the region was safe.

Residents in Islamabad were seen rushing out of multistorey buildings into the streets.

Shortly after the tremor hit, Pakistan's military dispatched troops and medical teams to the quake-affected area to assist civilian authorities in helping victims.

Authorities said helicopters will also be used if needed to evacuate people from the earthquake-affected area.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi in separate statements expressed their grief over losses caused by the quake.

The temblor was also felt in the northwest and in many towns and cities in eastern Punjab province, but it caused no damages or casualties there.

A magnitude 7.6 quake in 2005 killed thousands of people in Pakistan and Kashmir.