An earthquake of 7.6 magnitude struck this region just before 9 o’clock this morning. I woke up to find windows rattling and everything swaying. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was, then, as things started to clear, I asked Mariam (my sister) standing nearby if it was an earthquake.
It lasted about 2 whole minutes and was probably the strongest quake I have ever felt (including the ones I experienced in Japan during the five years I was there). Still, it didn’t feel like anything over 5.5 or 6.0 and we were quite surprised to hear the final rating. Mariam and I immediately switched on the tele and kept jumping between the Beeb, CNN and Geo, which soon starting reporting on it.
At first, there wasn’t any news of damage or casualties. Then I managed to talk to Majed (it was almost impossible to get through to most people, especially Mobilink users) and found out that an apartment building had collapsed in F-10, soon verified by the news services. Now, there are reports of many more damages and they say the death toll could go over a thousand. Though all my immediate friends and family are ok, some of their families saw boundary walls collapsing and cracks appearing in houses.
Mariam and I have been in quite a few earthquakes, in Pakistan and in Japan, and soon moved on to discussing the consequences of bird flu and other topics. Bushra however, being from Karachi where quakes are pretty rare, couldn’t get over it and was still trembling when I left home.
There have been at least five aftershocks since the morning quake, much less intense, but still quite strong. The last one just a few minutes ago. There was also a rumour that another big one was predicted at noon, but thankfully it was just that. Besides, I doubt earthquakes can be predicted in such a way. More later.