A powerful earthquake jolted several parts of Pakistan Administered Kashmir on 24 September 2019 at 4.02pm local time, particularly areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The earthquake severely affected Jatlan in Mirpur district, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers with its epicenter lying one kilometer southeast of Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. According to the preliminary information, 19 deaths reported and more than 300 injured. The high intensity earthquake also caused severe to moderate damages to houses, buildings, and other infrastructure in Mirpur district. The main road along Mirpur to Jatlan along the Jatlan Canal is damaged and caused damages of vehicles on the road when the earthquake struck.
The number of deaths and injuries and affected families are likely to be increased in the coming days once official report is issued. Electrical power supply, mobile and landline telephone services coverage are disrupted. The District Administration along with Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), National Police Bureau, Pakistan Armed Forces and Civil Defense are currently concentrating on the search and rescue operation. The Government of Pakistan has declared emergency in all the hospitals in Mirpur district. The PRCS Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is deploying its local first aid team consisting of district first aid training officer together with trained first aid responders to the affected area for the provision of first aid services and emergency evacuation.
Mirpur is one of the three divisions in the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). It is also a district in which there are two sub‐divisions; Mirpur and Dadyal consisting of 176 and 70 villages respectively with 18 union councils. Mirpur district comprises of partly plain and partly hilly areas. Mirpur lies on 33.1491N latitude and 73.7534E longitudes. It is 134 km from Islamabad and 190 km from Lahore via Dina through Grand Trunk Road. Mirpur is also connected to Bhimber (49 km) and Kotli (99 km) districts of the State of AJK. Mirpur district is bounded by Kotli district in the north and east, by Potohar (Punjab) in the west and by Bhimber district in the in the south. According to the Pakistan 2017 Census data, the total population of Mirpur district was approximately 456,000 people.
The government has declared state of emergency for Mirpur district. The SDMA through DDMA and District Administration have initiated search and rescue and emergency evacuation of affected population to the safer areas. And emergency has been declared in all the hospitals of Mirpur district. NDMA has issued high alert for potential aftershocks in the affected areas of Mirpur district.
Actions by SDMA/DDMA/District Administration/Rescue 1122:
• Supporting the search and rescue and first aid.
• Mobilized a team of trained staff from Muzaffarabad for search and rescue and emergency need assessment.
• Rescue 1122 is providing search and rescue services and shifting the injured to the hospitals.
• A team of Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority has also deployed its teams to the affected areas for search and rescue and emergency need assessment.
• A stock of SDMA already sent to Mirpur district consisting of family tents, blankets, plastic mats etc.
• NDMA dispatched 200 sets of tents, 800 sheets of blankets, 200 kitchen sets and 100 sets of medical kits together with professional teams to the affected area (Source: Gen. Muhammad Afzal Chairman NDAM). Action by Pakistan Army:
• Deployed Professional teams of search and rescue operation.