People stand outside after an earthquake is felt in Lahore, Pakistan, Sept. 24, 2019.
People stand outside after an earthquake is felt in Lahore, Pakistan, Sept. 24, 2019.

ISLAMABAD - A strong earthquake rattled eastern Pakistan Tuesday afternoon forcing residents into the streets in several cities, with witnesses claiming a building collapsed in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The shallow 5.8-magnitude hit 22.3 kilometers (13.8 miles) north of the city of Jhelum along the boundary separating the agricultural heartland of Punjab province and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"The quake was 10 kilometers deep and was felt in most of Punjab province, some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The worst hit was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir," Pakistan's chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told AFP.

Witnesses, Sajjad Jarral and Qazi Tahir, told AFP at least 50 people were injured by the quake that caused a building to collapse in Pakistani Kashmir's Mirpur and inflicted heavy damage at least one road.

Tremors were felt as far as New Delhi, while the Press Trust of India reported that people rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several places, including in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.

Pakistan straddles part of the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.

In October 2015, a 7.5-magnitude quake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed almost 400 people, flattening buildings in rugged terrain that impeded relief efforts.

The country was also hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005, that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

 

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