The devastation caused by the earthquake on Tuesday in various parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Pakistan has spread a wave of fear among the locals, who spent the night under the open sky as aftershocks continued on the second day as well.
Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Jhelum in Pakistan’s Punjab province are among the worst affected from the earthquake, being close to the epicentre of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake.
Local residents of Mirpur told India Today TV that there have been at least 30 aftershocks since Tuesday, forcing them to refrain from going back inside their homes.
“We have not gone inside our homes since the earthquake. Have been feeling tremors consistently through the day and the night. The walls of our homes have visible cracks in them,” Ahsan Abbasi, a resident of Mirpur, said.
Even though the official number of casualties stands at 34 and over 800 injured; locals say that the number is a lot higher than that.
“At least 70 people have died, some of the dead were taken to hospitals, while several others were taken to other places by locals,” Ahsan said.
The earthquake has caused major damages to roads, buildings and properties. A large number of families are unable to go back to their homes as their residences have been completed destroyed.
“At least 450 houses have been damaged, among which many homes have been completely destroyed,” said National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lieutenant General Afzal confirmed.
It’s a mourning day in Mirpur and Jhelum as funerals are being held in different parts of the cities.
Areas surrounding Mirpur, including Bhimber and Jatlan have also suffered widespread devastation and destruction by the earthquake.
Locals say that many homes, buildings and areas have sunk into the ground, a rubble of which is yet to be taken out.
“The casualties would rise abruptly when the rubble of the sunk buildings and homes will be taken out. Many people have died while those who survived are forced to live in the open as our homes may fall with any moment,” said a local in Mirpur.
Authorities have started the relief operation. Makeshift camps have been arranged for those who lost their homes, while the authorities assess the damage caused by the tremors.
The NDMA chairman said that restoration work on road routes is being done while food supplies are also being handed to the affected families.
By tomorrow, small vehicles will be able to use the roads that were affected by the earthquake. Over 1,000 food aid packages will reach the affected area soon and tents will also be provided to those whose houses were damaged or destroyed,” he said.
With ongoing aftershocks, locals are reluctant to go back to their homes, which they say are already standing on a very weak structure after the earthquake and may fall at any moment.