By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - The death toll from Tuesday's 6.8 magnitude earthquake that jolted most of Pakistan, as well as neighboring India and Afghanistan, has risen to 12, officials said on Wednesday.
In Pakistan, all of the deaths were reported in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, said the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in a statement.
Whereas the Afghan Information Ministry said, citing Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Zaman, that earthquake-related incidents across the country resulted in at least three fatalities and 44 injuries.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the magnitude 6.5 tremor had a depth of 187 kilometers and was located in Afghanistan's Jurm area of the Hindukush region.
The National Seismic Monitoring Center in Pakistan initially gave a reading of 7.7, which the Pakistan Meteorological Department revised down to 6.8.
It said the earthquake was centered in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan’s border areas.
Tremors were felt in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Quetta, Sargodha, Mianwali, Peshawar, Kohat, Swat, Chitral, Dir, Shangla, and other districts of northeastern Punjab, southwestern Balochistan, and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, according to the National Disaster Management Authority and local media.
The tremor was also felt in Mirpur, Kotli, and other districts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Over 80 people were hospitalized in Swat, Dir, Swabi, Chitral, and Malakund districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, primarily as a result of roof and wall collapses and trauma, said Bilal Fauzia, a spokesman for the rescue service.
The majority of the injured suffered minor injuries, health officials said.
In Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar, according to national and provincial disaster management authorities, several high-rise buildings developed cracks as a result of the earthquake, prompting the administration to order a mandatory evacuation.
In Pakistan, footage aired on local broadcaster Geo News showed people rushing out of buildings and heading for open spaces.
Another video showed a host and guests leaving the set of a TV show while fans, chairs, and lights swayed.
The tremors also pulled down utility poles, knocking out power in several areas, local broadcaster Samaa News reported.
Landslides blocked the historic Silk route that connects Pakistan to neighboring China, at several points, the channel reported.
They also blocked roads in Swat and Dir districts at different points.
The earthquake also shook parts of Indian-administered Kashmir, as well as northern India, including the capital New Delhi.
*Islamuddin Sajid from Islamabad also contributed to this report