1 Killed, 80 Hurt; Widespread Damage In Kishtwar, Doda
One person was killed and over 80 others, mostly students, injured and scores of buildings damaged in Jammu and Kashmir when an earthquake of moderate intensity shook parts of North India Wednesday.
Kishtwar and Doda districts in Chenab Valley of Jammu province were the hardest hit where about 400 structures including schools, hospitals and houses developed cracks. “The quake occurred at 12.27 p.m. and measured 5.8 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter was Jangalwar area near Kishtwar town on the J&K-Himachal border,” RS Dattatreya, Director, Department of Seismology, India Meteorological Department (IMD), was quoted by a wire service.
“The quake was 10 kilometers beneath the earth’s surface…,” said L.S. Rathore, Director General IMD.
In Jammu, an official of the Met department said, “The maximum impact of the quake was felt in Doda and Kishtwar districts.”
Unofficial reports claimed that more than 80 persons, mostly school children, were injured across Chenab Valley, but the official figures furnished to the Divisional Commissioners by the respective DCs put the figure at 53.
As per the report one person was killed in Kishtwar and six others were wounded, out of which one was shifted to Jammu. 27 persons were injured in Gandoh and six others in Thatri area, the report, as per the sources claimed adding that eight persons were injured in Ramban district. There was no major damage or injuries reported from other parts of the region, sources added.
Panic gripped the three districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban as around two aftershocks were felt immediately after the earthquake. At most of the major and small townships, schools were closed and people rushed to their homes.
Buildings of the All India Radio and the Bhaderwah Development Authority were also damaged in the quake.
As per the official sources, the only causality was reported from a far off village of Kuntwara in Kishtwar district, where a villager was hit by a boulder.
“The deceased Susawoun Ram son of Shib Lal of Shandri, Kuntwara was grazing cattle when he was hit by a boulder, immediately after the quake”, sources said.
Reports said that a wall of Government Primary School Pootinag of Kishtwar collapsed leading to injuries to four students and one teacher. The teacher, whose identity could not be ascertained immediately, was later airlifted to Jammu due to his critical condition.
One student was injured when the wall of Government Higher Secondary school Chatroo collapsed.
At least 27 children received minor injuries at Higher Secondary School Gandoh, Higher Secondary School Sinowa and Higher Secondary School Kilotran. Four of the injured children were shifted to District Hospital Doda. A teacher was also injured and was shifted to Doda hospital. Reports from the area further said that a house collapsed at Kilotran, while over two dozen houses have suffered partial damages in Gandoh tehsil. Officials said that 3 children were injured in house collapse at Bandhoka village of the tehsil while over two dozen cattle perished in Piakul, Sairi.
Around 30 persons were injured in Bhaderwah area. At least 13 girls were injured when ceiling of Government Girls Higher Secondary School Bhaderwah collapsed. The entire school building has been declared unsafe as around 80 per cent of the class rooms have developed cracks.
All the injured were shifted to Sub District Hospital at Dandi, Bhaderwah for treatment, which was also vacated due to the collapse of its ceiling. The patients were treated in the open lawn of the hospital. Injured were identified as Deepak Charak S/o Jaswant Singh Charak, Ranjeet S/o Chur Singh, Nazir S/o Badru Din, Tufajahan D/o Mustaq Ahmed Butt, Rakesh Kotwal S/o Basant Raj, Inspector Mehmood, Rajesh Kumar S/o Jivan Lal, Jasbeena Begum W/o Javed Iqbal, Rubia Bano D/o Noor Muhammad , Nafiza Nusrat, Atika Bano D/o Mustaq Muhammad, Rashmi Devi D/o Narinder Singh, Zubina Begum W/o Rehmtullah, Komal Manhas D/o Yashpal, Asilshah Baz S/o Muktiyar Ahmed, Zarin Kousar W/o Shabir Muhammad, Rabia D/o Rehmtullah and Anam D/o Muhammad Iqbal.
Police sources said that at Pasri, Bhadarwah, a three-storey house of Rehmat-ullah Khan collapsed while the residential houses of Ali Muhammad Bhat and Farid Ahmed Shapu were damaged.
In Balisa Bisral area of Bhaderwah, at least 40 houses suffered damages. The house of a local employee Sarpangal Kumar was completely damaged.
Reports said that at least 112 structures have collapsed in Bhadarwah. At Chinchora, which is 16 kilometers away from Badherwah, 5 school children were injured when the roof of the school building collapsed. A High School building was damaged in Jangalwar area of Kishtwar. In Cheerji area of Kishtwar, a six year old girl was seriously wounded due to roof collapse.
Reports of cracks in offices and residential buildings and disruption of communication systems poured in from Bhaderwah, Doda and Kishtwar townships but officials said that the exact details could only be ascertain by Thursday.
“We have reports of many buildings having developed big cracks while some mud houses in Chatroo, Thathri, Koti, Gundna, Khellani, Kishtwar, Doda and Bhaderwah areas have collapsed,” an official in Jammu said. Reports from Ramban revealed that some government buildings and private residential houses suffered partial damage, while around six students were injured.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Pardeep Gupta, said the district administrations have been asked to furnish details of the loss suffered in their respective areas. “We have already announced relief under the Disaster Funds”, he said.
Due to the large scale damage to school buildings, the civil administration in Chenab Valley announced closure of educational institutions on Thursday.
District Development Commissioner Kathua ordered that all educational institutions of education zone Bani, Lohai-Malhar, Billawar, Mahanpur, Basohli and Bhaddu shall remain closed on Thursday. Strong tremors were also felt in Kashmir although no damage to life or property has so far been reported in the division. People in most parts of Kashmir panicked and came out of their houses.
Officials said the Divisional Administration Kashmir sought reports from all Deputy Commissioners. “There has been no report of damage to life or property in any part of Kashmir,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar told Greater Kashmir. “Things are in place to deal with any emergency situation,” he added.
The quake in Jammu and Kashmir was followed by a series of aftershocks in Doda and Kishtwar.
Yesterday, an earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale struck Bhaderwah and adjoining areas in Doda district.
“If this continues, we will have to sit in the open during the night,” Arfat Khan, a shopkeeper in Bhaderwah, said.
Kashmir is situated in an earthquake-prone region where devastating tremors have wreaked havoc in the past. On Oct 8, 2005, a devastating earthquake killed thousands of people on both sides of Line of Control. The tremors were also felt in Punjab and Haryana but there were no immediate reports of any casualty or damage from the two states.
In Himachal Pradesh, the quake lasted nearly 30 seconds and was felt from tribal Lahaul and Spiti valley to foothills of Una.
A few houses were damaged in Chamba as frightened people scampered out of their houses on to the streets in the hill state. The quake rocked Kangra, Palampur, Solan, Hamirpur and other places in the state but no one was injured.
Today’s quake, the third in the national capital and adjoining satellite townships in a fortnight, was felt for 20-25 seconds in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida.
On April 24, a temblor, measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale with epi-centre in southern Afghanistan, rattled the National Capital Region. On April 16, a 7.8 magnitude quake with its epi-centre in Pakistan-Iran border jolted the region.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has expressed concern and anxiety over the loss of life and property caused due to the earthquake. Azad besides expressing solidarity with the affected people, including those who got injured, has urged the administration to take all possible measures to make the lives of people easier to the extent possible. “Administration has to be responsive and available to address the needs of people in such difficult times”, he said.
He has also advised the administration to rush medical teams to the affected parts of the State so that timely and on spot emergency and other related services are made available to the people.
“While the focus has to be on immediate rescue and relief measures, including prompt shifting of injured and sick to the nearest health facilities, process of speedy and proper assessment of the damages is also to be started simultaneously. It is also important to see that confidence is restored among people and that no panic is caused due to rumors and misinformation”, he said.
GOVT TO PROVIDE NECESSARY ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS:
Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar has said that the Government will extend all support to the earthquake victims of Doda and Kishtwar districts.
The Minister further said that necessary instructions have been conveyed to the concerned District Administration to assess the loss caused to various structures so that necessary relief can be provided to them at an earliest.
Sagar also sympathized with the affected people who have been injured as a result of the earthquake and assured them that all possible help would be extended to them.
MUFTI, MEHBOOBA EXPRESS GRIEF OVER LOSS OF LIFE, PROPERTIES:
Patron of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and president of the party Mehbooba Mufti have expressed grief over loss of life and properties in the earthquake.
In a statement issued today, PDP leaders asked the state government to start rescue operations on war-footing and depute teams of disaster management with advanced equipments to accelerate rescue operations in the affected areas. The PDP leaders also demanded that proper medical facilities should be provided to all injured and if required, teams of doctors and paramedical staff should be sent to affected areas immediately.
They also asked the government to depute teams, without wasting time, to assess the losses due to the earthquake.
Meanwhile senior PDP leader Sayeed Asgar Ali, MLC, has emphasized on the need of immediately deputing disaster management teams with latest technology to start rescue operations. Sayeed Asgar Ali, who is in Kishtwar, said that this belt was witnessing aftershocks due to earthquake and there was a need to take some immediate precautions. The PDP leader, who visited Kishtwar hospital to inquire about conditions of injured, said that a number of people were injured due to collapse of buildings. He asked the authorities to immediately depute teams to assess the losses in entire region.
RANA FOR ASSESSING LOSS:
Provincial President National Conference, Devender Singh Rana expressed sadness over the damages caused due to the earthquake and urged the government for assessing the loss to compensate the sufferers and providing assistance to injured.
Rana, in a message, particularly sought immediate makeshift arrangements for the students of the affected schools which were damaged due to tremors.
Rana appreciated the state government for swift action by deputing teams to the various affected areas. He called upon the government to immediately access losses and distribute relief to the sufferers whose dwelling units have been damaged. He also urged the government to providing specialized medicare to all those injured.
The Provincial President expressed satisfaction that there was no loss of life. He also expressed sympathy and solidarity with the injured and prayed for their early recovery.
WANI DIRECTS ADMINISTRATION TO TAKE UP RELIEF MEASURES:
Immediately on hearing about earthquake, Minister for R&B Abdul Majid Wani issued directions to district administration Doda to take up necessary relief and rescue measures in all the affected areas of the district.
The Minister, who was in Delhi on an official tour, instructed the concerned agencies to gear up their men and machinery to clear the landslides in various parts of the district that occurred due to today’s earthquake and remain available in the field.
The Minister directed the Deputy Commissioner Doda to constitute special teams for assessment of damages caused in the far-off and hilly areas of the district due to this natural calamity so that the affected people could be compensated accordingly.