2005 Kashmir earthquake

An earthquake occurred at 08:50:39 Pakistan Standard Time on 8 October 2005 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a territory under Pakistan. It was centred near the city of Muzaffarabad, and also affected nearby Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some areas of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It registered a moment magnitude of 7.6 and had a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). The earthquake was also felt in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India and the Xinjiang region. The severity of the damage caused by the earthquake is attributed to severe upthrust. Over 86,000 people died, a similar number were injured, and millions were displaced. It is considered the deadliest earthquake in South Asia, surpassing the 1935 Quetta earthquake.[8]

2005 Kashmir earthquake
Clockwise from top left:
  • Destroyed building, Muzaffarabad
  • Pakistani soldiers unload relief supplies from a U.S. Navy helicopter, Balakot
  • U.S. Navy Hospitalman holds an injured three-year-old boy, Shinkiari
  • Destroyed building, Nardjan
  • U.S. Army helicopter takes off after dropping off emergency aid at Rawalakot Airport, Rawalakot
  • A tent village built to house displaced earthquake survivors, Shinkiari
2005 Kashmir earthquake is located in Pakistan
2005 Kashmir earthquake
UTC time2005-10-08 03:50:40
ISC event7703077
Local date8 October 2005
Local time08:50:39 PKT
Duration60 seconds
Magnitude7.6 Mw[1]
Depth15 km (9.3 mi)[1]
Epicenter34°27′N 73°39′E / 34.45°N 73.65°E / 34.45; 73.65[1]
Areas affectedPakistan, India, Afghanistan
Max. intensityMMI XI (Extreme) [2]
Aftershocks5.9 Mw  8 Oct at 03:57[4]
5.8 Mw  8 Oct at 03:58[5]
6.4 Mw  8 Oct at 10:46[6]
Casualties86,000–87,351 dead[7]
69,000–75,266 injured[7]
2.8 million displaced[7]


Map depicting regional tectonic plates

Kashmir lies in the area of collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. The geological activity born out of this collision, also responsible for the birth of the Himalayan mountain range, is the cause of unstable seismicity in the region. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured its magnitude as a minimum of 7.6 on the moment magnitude scale, with its epicenter about 19 km (12 mi) northeast of Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a region under the state of Pakistan and 100 km (62 mi) north-northeast of the national capital Islamabad.


USGS Shakemap for the event

The earthquake had a maximum Modified Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme) evaluated in an area around the epicentre,[2] between the towns of Muzaffarabad and Balakot. It was also assigned XI on the Environmental Seismic Intensity scale. Field surveys of heavy damage to buildings and other structures in Balakot determined that the Modified Mercalli intensity exceeded X. At Muzaffarabad, the intensity peaked at VIII–IX (Severe–Violent). Intensity VII–VIII (Very strong–Severe) was determined in the areas south of Muzaffarabad.[9]

The maximum intensity in Bharat was VIII (Destructive) on the Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale (MSK), and was felt at Uri. MSK VII was felt in Kupwara and Baramulla. In Srinagar, the earthquake was felt with an MSK intensity of V. At areas where the seismic intensity was lower, collapses were documented.[9] The earthquake was felt throughout central Asia, and as far away as Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Minor shaking was felt in Almaty, Kazakhstan.[10]



There were many secondary earthquakes in the region, mainly to the northwest of the original epicentre. A series of strong aftershocks occurred near Muzaffarabad.[11] As of 27 October 2005[12] There had been more than 978 aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.0 and above that continued to occur daily. Since then, measurements from satellites have shown that mountain parts directly above the epicenter have risen by a few meters, giving ample proof that the Himalayas are still being formed and growing and that this earthquake was a consequence of that.[13] By the end of 2005, a total of 1,778 aftershocks were recorded. [14]

Damage and casualties



Muzaffarabad after the earthquake

Most of the devastation hit Azad Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of Northern Pakistan. In AJK, the three main districts were badly affected, and Muzaffarabad, the state capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, was hardest hit in terms of casualties and destruction. Hospitals, schools, and rescue services, including police and armed forces, were paralysed. There was virtually no infrastructure, and communication was badly affected. More than 70% of all casualties were estimated to have occurred in Muzaffarabad. Bagh, the second-most-affected district, accounted for 15% of the total casualties.[citation needed] In Islamabad, the Margalla Towers, an apartment complex in sector F-10, collapsed, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 70 inhabitants.[15] One Egyptian and two Japanese were among the dead there.[16]

The Pakistani government's official death toll as of November 2005 stood at 87,350, although it is estimated that the death toll could have reached over 100,000. Approximately 138,000 people were injured, and over 3.5 million were rendered homeless. According to government figures, 19,000 children died in the earthquake, most of them in the widespread collapse of school buildings. The earthquake affected more than 500,000 families. In addition, approximately 250,000 farm animals died due to the collapse of stone barns, and more than 500,000 large animals required immediate shelter from the harsh winter.[citation needed] About 200 soldiers were also killed in the epicentral area.[16]

As Saturday is a normal school day in the region, most students were at school when the earthquake struck. Many were buried under collapsed school buildings. In Mansehra District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one collapsing school killed 350 students, while another school in the same district killed an additional 50 students.[16] Many people were also trapped in their homes, and because it was the month of Ramadan, most people were taking a nap after their pre-dawn meal and did not have time to escape. Reports indicate that entire towns and villages were completely wiped out in northern Pakistan, with other surrounding areas also suffering severe damage.[citation needed]

"...A second, massive wave of death will happen if we do not step up our efforts now," Kofi Annan said on October 20, with reference to the thousand remote villages in which people "are in need of medical attention, food, clean water and shelter and the 120,000 survivors that have not yet been reached."[17]

According to Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz "made the appeal to survivors" on 26 October to come down to valleys and cities for relief,[18] because bad weather, mountainous terrain, landslides and blocked roads are making it difficult for relief workers to reach each house and the winter snows are imminent."



At least 1,350 people were killed and 6,266 injured in Jammu and Kashmir, India.[19][20][21] In Uri there were over 150 deaths.[16] The tremors were reportedly felt as far away as Delhi and Punjab.



Four deaths were reported in Afghanistan, including a young girl who died in Jalalabad after a wall collapsed on her. The quake was felt in Kabul, but the effects were minimal there.[citation needed]


Pakistani soldiers carry tents away from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

The national and international humanitarian response to the crisis was extensive. In the initial phases of response, the Pakistan Medical corps, Corps of Engineers, Army Aviation and a large number of infantry units played important roles. Lt. Gen Afzal, Maj. Gen. Imtiaz, and Maj. Gen Javid were the leaders of their formations. Maj. Gen Farrukh Seir was in charge of foreign relief coordination. The relief work in the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir was led by IAS officers of the state administration, Bashir Runyal and Jaipal Singh Law. In early 2006, the Government of Pakistan organized a donors' conference to raise money for the reconstruction and development of the area. A total of $6.2 billion was pledged and a large amount of the money was delivered in terms of services of international NGOs with high pay scales. The rest of the money pledged, which was given to the Government of Pakistan for reconstruction and development, was used by a reconstruction authority called Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority.

Well over US$5.4 billion (400 billion Pakistani rupees)[22] in aid arrived from all around the world. US Marine and Army helicopters stationed in neighbouring Afghanistan quickly flew aid into the devastated region along with five CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Royal Air Force that were deployed from the United Kingdom. Five crossing points were opened on the Line of Control (LOC), between India and Pakistan, to facilitate the flow of humanitarian and medical aid to the affected region, and aid teams from different parts of Pakistan and around the world came to the region to assist in relief efforts.[23][24][25]

See also



  1. ^ a b c ISC (2014), ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue (1900–2009), Version 1.05, International Seismological Centre
  2. ^ a b Zahid Ali; Muhammad Qaisar; Tariq Mahmood; Muhammad Ali Shah; Talat Iqbal; Leonello Serva; Alessandro M. Michetti; Paul W. Burton (2009). "The Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, earthquake of 8 October 2005: surface faulting, environmental effects and macroseismic intensity". Special Publications. 316 (1). The Geological Society of London: 155–172. Bibcode:2009GSLSP.316..155A. doi:10.1144/SP316.9. S2CID 128469925.
  3. ^ Bulmer, M.; Farquhar, T.; Roshan, M.; Akhtar, S. S.; Wahla, S. K. (2007), "Landslide hazards after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake", EOS, 88 (5): 53–68, Bibcode:2007EOSTr..88...53B, doi:10.1029/2007eo050001, S2CID 140661236
  4. ^ USGS. "M5.9 - Pakistan". United States Geological Survey.
  5. ^ USGS. "M5.8 - Pakistan". United States Geological Survey.
  6. ^ USGS. "M6.4 - Pakistan". United States Geological Survey.
  7. ^ a b c USGS (4 September 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog (Earthquake ID 20051008035040), Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey
  8. ^ "The great Quetta tragedy". DAWN Newspaper. 25 October 2005. Archived from the original on 27 October 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  9. ^ a b "First Report on the Kashmir Earthquake of October 8, 2005" (PDF). eeri.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2006.
  10. ^ "Today in Earthquake History".
  11. ^ "Pak in panic as quake rocks Kashmir" Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine Reuters, The Financial Express, 19 October 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2006.
  12. ^ "Pakistan: A summary report on Muzaffarabad earthquake" ReliefWeb, 7 November 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2006.
  13. ^ BBC series: Earth: The Power of the Planet., part 1. Volcano
  14. ^ Mahmood, I.; Qureshi, S. N.; Tariq, S.; Atique, L.; Iqbal, M. F. (2015). "Analysis of Landslides Triggered by October 2005, Kashmir Earthquake". PLOS Currents. 7: ecurrents.dis.0bc3ebc5b8adf5c7fe9fd3d702d44a99. doi:10.1371/currents.dis.0bc3ebc5b8adf5c7fe9fd3d702d44a99. PMC 4556441. PMID 26366324.
  15. ^ Abbasi, Kashif (21 December 2019). "Only three multi-storey buildings operating with completion certificates". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  16. ^ a b c d "Big quake hits subcontinent; thousands feared dead". Reuters. 8 October 2005. Archived from the original on 13 October 2005. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  17. ^ "Thousands at risk of starving in earthquake aid shortfall" The Times, 21 October 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2006.
  18. ^ Qayum, Khalid (26 October 2005), Pakistan Asks Quake Survivors to Leave Mountains Before Winter, Bloomberg News
  19. ^ "Kashmir earthquake of 2005". October 2023.
  20. ^ "Twenty-two tetanus deaths reported in Pakistan quake zone". The New York Times. 27 October 2005.
  21. ^ "pakistan toll at 38000 is expected to rise".
  22. ^ Amr S. Elnashai (6 November 2006). "The Pakistan Earthquake of October 2005: A Reminder of Human-Science Interaction in Natural Disasters Risk Management". The Illinois International Review. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  23. ^ "Pakistan Asks Quake Survivors to Leave Mountains Before Winter" (Bloomberg News), 26 October 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2006.
  24. ^ "New figures put quake toll at more than 79,000" AP, NBC News, 19 October 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2006.
  25. ^ "South Asia Earthquake: Fact Sheet #25 (FY 2006)" ReliefWeb, 17 November 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2006.

Further reading