A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 struck South Asia on Sunday, shaking buildings in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, witnesses and the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, although there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
In Islamabad and other cities across Pakistan, terrified residents fled their homes and offices as buildings swayed. Television footage showed people praying in public. Tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital, New Delhi.
The USGS said the quake was centered near Chitral in remote northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, at a depth of 210 km.
Residents left their homes in Kabul and Islamabad when the quake struck, with buildings swaying for well over a minute in both capitals. Similar reports were received from across northern and central Pakistan.
People in the Pakistani city of Lahore, 630 km from the epicenter, also reported they had felt the tremors.
A Reuters witness in Chitral said the tremor was strong but there was no major damage visible.
Ahmad Kamal, a spokesman at National Disaster Management Authority, said they have not received any information about damages from the earthquake-hit areas. However, he said that post-quake landslides were a potential threat, and said he had asked regional authorities to prepare for all possible contingencies.
A 7.5-magnitude quake struck the area on Oct. 26 last year, killing more than 300 people and destroying thousands of homes.
In Kabul, Omar Mohammadi, a spokesman for the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, said officials were collecting information but no reports of casualties or damage had been received so far.
Tremors were also felt in the Indian capital and in Kashmir, witnesses said, with some people working in high-rise buildings in the Indian capital rushing into the streets. The Delhi underground system was also halted briefly, commuters told the NDTV channel.
The Hindu Kush area bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan is a seismically active area, with quakes often felt across the region. Just over a decade ago, a 7.6-magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people.