5.3 quake rattles Kashmir

A moderate earthquake shook north-western Pakistan and the disputed region of Kashmir, but there were no reports of casualties, seismologists said.

The tremor at 3.04am (10.04pm Irish time Wednesday) was felt in Islamabad and the north-western cities of Mansehra and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, which was almost ruined in an October 8 quake, said the Seismological Centre in the north-western city of Peshawar.

Calling it an aftershock from the October quake, the centre said the magnitude-5.3 tremor was centred about 124 miles north-east of Peshawar in the mountainous region of Hazara, where Mansehra is a major city.

The US Geological Survey recorded the tremor at magnitude 5.2.

The seismological observatory of the Indian Meteorological Department earlier reported a magnitude-5.2 quake at 3.35am centred in the frontier region of Indian Kashmir.

Some 1,522 aftershocks have been felt in north-western Pakistan and its portion of Kashmir since the magnitude-7.6 quake struck, leaving about 87,000 people dead and about 3.5 million homeless.

International aid agencies, with the help of Pakistan’s army and foreign militaries, have been ferrying aid to quake-hit areas before the harsh Himalayan winter sets in.

Today, a statement released by the US Embassy said a dozen American CH-47 Chinook helicopters had expedited efforts to get aid to survivors, delivering almost 6,500 tonnes of humanitarian assistance since October.

“With winter arriving, we are very focused on delivering aid to those areas that may be inaccessible once the weather worsens,” said Navy Rear Adm. Michael LeFever, the senior US commander of the humanitarian mission.

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