A powerful earthquake struck a remote area of northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, shaking the capital Kabul and killing at least 17 people while 12 were killed in neighbouring Pakistan, officials said.
Shockwaves were felt in northern India and in Pakistan's capital, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them.
The quake was 213km deep and centred 254 km northeast of Kabul in a remote area of Afghanistan in the northern mountain range.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially measured the quake's intensity at 7.7 then revised it down to 7.6 and later to 7.5.
"We received 50 injured and more are being shifted. The injured suffered multiple injuries due to building collapse," said hospital spokesman Syed Jamil Shah.
In the Afghan capital, Kabul, buildings shook violently but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
International aid agencies working in the northern areas of Afghanistan reported that cell phone coverage in the affected areas remained down in the hour after the initial quake.
India's northernmost region of Kashmir experienced intense and prolonged tremors that caused panic in areas that suffered severe flooding last year. Power supplies and most mobile networks were knocked out, and there was structural damage to roads and buildings.
No casualties were reported in Kashmir, however.
More than 100 people were injured in Pakistan's northern Swat Valley, said Dr Muhammad Sadiq, the head of emergency services at a government hospital there.
"Many more injured are still coming to hospital. Many are still under rubble," Sadiq said
The US Geological Survey put the epicentre near Jarm in the country's northeast, 250km from the capital Kabul and at a depth of 213.5 km. It previously estimated the magnitude at 7.7.
The quake, which lasted at least one minute, shook buildings in Kabul, Islamabad and New Delhi, sending people rushing into the streets.
The quake was 196km deep and centred 82km southeast of Feyzabad in a remote area of Afghanistan in a mountain range. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
A strong tremor was also felt in New Delhi and buildings shook. People ran out of buildings as strong tremor was felt across northern India.
A strong earthquake shook north India a little after 2:30 pm on Monday. Tremors were reported in Delhi, Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab states.
Tremors that lasted about 40 seconds were also reported in Pakistan.
People rushed out of offices and homes in Delhi. Phone and electricity lines are down in Kashmir's capital Srinagar.
Dubai resident Anuj Sharma, who was in Delhi at the time of the earthquake, told Emirates 24|7: “It was one of the scariest experiences of our lives.
“We were at home, watching TV, when suddenly things started to shake. It was slow at first and then suddenly the whole building started to tremble.
“Without thinking, we made a beeline for the stairs. The tremors lasted between two to three minutes. Everyone was quite shaken up.”
Paramjit Singh, another Dubai resident who was in Ludhiana at the time, said: “We have never experienced anything like this. The world was shaking around us.”
Singh, who was at home with his grandmother, said he made a split-second decision not to exit the building as her physical condition wouldn’t allow it.
He said: “I grabbed her and rolled her under the bed, while I hid under the dining table. They were the longest minutes of our lives.”
No tremors in UAE
The UAE’s seismology centre has confirmed no tremors were recorded in the country, despite some residents stating otherwise on social media.
Khamis Al Shamsi, Head of Seismology for UAE, stated: “We can confirm the UAE has experienced no tremors in wake of the powerful earthquake that has shaken up parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.”
Al Shamsi continued: “The 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the northeast part of Afghanistan, 190km deep. The UAE is 1,800kms from the epicentre of the quake. It is not possible that anyone here could have experienced the tremblor.”
The earthquake was caused by the shifting of the Eurasian tectonic plate, he added, which could result in possible aftershocks in the coming days.
“For an earthquake measuring on such a magnitude, the aftershocks can range between five or six on the Richter Scale,” he added.