A powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake jolted several districts in Pakistan where reportedly 37 deaths occurred and more than 723 are injured. Districts were also hit by aftershock tremors measuring 3.6 and 3.7 magnitude and again at 4.7 on the Richter scale. The two most affected districts officials say are located in Mirpur and Jhelum.
Rescue efforts by the government are underway but have been delayed due to badly damaged roads and vehicle accidents affecting the ability to reach people who are hurt or search for those missing. It is estimated that more than 90,000 people have been directly affected by the earthquake and tremors.
The epicenter was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in eastern Punjab province according to meteorology experts. TV footage showed residents rushing out of buildings onto streets in fear of another quake.
ADRA in Pakistan has deployed a team to assess damages in the affected area and are coordinating with local authorities in Mirpur and Jhelum to provide assistance.
“The immediate needs we’ve identified so far are shelter for families,” says Brendon Irvine, acting country director for ADRA in Pakistan and programs and planning director for ADRA in Asia. “Many homes were damaged and there is also great need for clean drinking water and food.”
ADRA has been able to provide 80 tents as temporary shelters that can accommodate up to seven people. The team has also been working to coordinate a food distribution that will feed nearly 400 families. Meal portions are estimated to last a family up to 10 days.
“Villagers in Mirpur are trying to repair their homes on their own and those who can’t afford to do so are depending on the government for assistance. Meanwhile, men of some households aren’t working and choose to remain with their families to keep their homes safe. ADRA plans to be on the ground for a few more days providing ongoing assistance to ensure food and water is received,” says Mr Irvine.