37 die, 500 injured in Pakistan earthquake

Thirty-seven died and more than 500 were injured in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake Tuesday in Pakistan-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

A man inspects a damaged road Wednesday after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, in Mirpur, Kashmir, Pakistan, that struck Tuesday. Photo by Rahat Dar

The U.S. Geological Society said the earthquake’s epicenter struck 12 miles north of Jhelum in the Punjab province. The tremor destroyed roads and overturned vehicles near Mirpur. Authorities also reported that phone towers were damaged along with bridges and electrical poles.

The earthquake could be felt throughout the region in Rawalpindi, Murree, Charsadda, Swat, Khyber, Abbottabad, Bajaur, Nowshera, Mansehra, Battagram, Torghar and Kohistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sympathy for the victims on social media.

“Saddened to learn of the earthquake and the loss of precious lives,” Khan said on Twitter Tuesday. “My condolences go to the families of the victims and prayers for an early recovery of the injured. I have directed our government to ensure fast and immediate relief for the affectees and damage assessment.”

Khan is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority said that aftershocks could continue to affect the area over the next day. Officials from the authority said that protective plans are being executed in those areas.

Staff Gen. Javad Bajwa, of the Pakistani army, said that troops are helping in rescue efforts in the region.

ByClyde Hughes