10/08/2005, 00.00
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Earthquake strikes Pakistan, India and Afghanistan

Communication lines to stricken areas have been disrupted. Mosques have announced a day of common prayer for mitigation of damage caused by the quake.

Srinagar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale hit Pakistan, part of northern India and Afghanistan at 9.25 (local time) this morning. The epicentre of the quake was located at a depth of 10km, 95km northwest of Srinagar, the regional capital.

The most severe tremor lasted for a minute, and was followed by a series of aftershocks, one reaching a magnitude of 5.9, a measurement held to be "very high" for an aftershock.

The toll of victims is as yet unknown: communication lines to affected zones have been disrupted. Witnesses told a local television station that at last one person was dead and several injured. The first news from the region close to the epicentre of the tremors described serious damage to Muzzafarabad and other visits in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, including Rawalakot and Batgram. Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Rawalpindi have also been affected.

"According to information we have, one village was completely destroyed in the district of Bagh in Kashmir," said General Shaukat Sultan of the Pakistani army. "We are receiving reports of serious damage from this and other regions. The damage has spread and rescue teams and the military are rushing to the area." He added that helicopters with medical teams had taken off from Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Pakistani mosques declared that a special common prayer is being held so that the damage caused by the quake will be mitigated.

The tremor was felt in a large part of Pakistan, including Kabul, where no deaths or injuries were reported. In the eastern province of Nangarhar, a child was killed.

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