The 5.8 magnitude quake struck the region's Mirpur area, causing property and infrastructure damage and also injuring more than 500 people, officials say.

A man who lost his sister mourns for her next to a wall of his house damaged by a powerful earthquake at Sahang Kikri village near Mirpur, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, September 25, 2019.
A man who lost his sister mourns for her next to a wall of his house damaged by a powerful earthquake at Sahang Kikri village near Mirpur, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, September 25, 2019. (AP)

Mourners were burying the victims of a powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Pakistan-administered Kashmir a day earlier, killing at least 37 people and injuring more than 500 others, according to local media and officials.

Officials said the extent of the casualties, who included young children, emerged a day after the quake struck as authorities were able to reach towns and villages around the region outside main population centres.

"We had dispatched survey teams in the entire area affected by the earthquake to collect details of the victims," Muhammad Tayyab, divisional commissioner for Mirpur, one of the worst affected areas, told Reuters, adding that around 500 people had been injured.

Tuesday's earthquake levelled homes and shops and split open roads in an area between the towns of Jhelum in Pakistan and Mirpur in part of disputed Kashmir that is administered by Islamabad.

Authorities were repairing a key road to the town of Mirpur on Wednesday, which was close to the earthquake's epicentre.
The mountainous Kashmir region bore the brunt of the quake — all the casualties and damage are reported there.  Fearing aftershocks, many people spent the night in open areas.

Officials say they are providing tents, food and other items to quake-affected people.

"The situation is slowly returning to normal, the level of panic is now less among the people, although an aftershock was felt at night," said Sardar Gulfaraz Khan, a police deputy inspector general.

Most of the damage happened in villages where old houses collapsed, Khan said.

Burying loved ones

In a town in Mirpur district, more than 200 people gathered to attend the funeral of a one-and-a-half-old child who was killed in the earthquake. 

Women mourned next to the bed where the child's body lay covered in a blanket.

Another child in the town was buried the same morning after a wall collapsed on her.

“All of sudden I received a call from my father that there was an earthquake and my little sister is badly injured,” her brother Mohammad Hameed said.

"She was injured and (now) she has left us."

Rescue and repair operations

Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) earlier said 25 people were killed, and more than 450 people injured - mostly in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Many people from the area slept outdoors overnight and some were returning home on Wednesday to collect belongings and inspect damage.

Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal, NDMA chief, said authorities would bring in 200 family-sized tents for temporary shelters, kitchen sets, blankets and 50,000 bottles of water.

Troops and other emergency responders carried out rescue operations through the night, with engineers starting repairs on a key roadway that was severely damaged, the Pakistan Army's communications arm said.

Afzal said the road would reopen by Thursday evening. Three bridges were also damaged.

The earthquake disrupted power to the region, but it had been restored by midday on Wednesday, NDMA said.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a tweet, offered condolences to families of the victims and said he had directed the government to quickly offer relief and assess the damage.

No damage or casualties reported from adjoining India-administered Kashmir where New Delhi's communications blackout has continued for more than seven-and-a-half weeks.

Both India and Pakistan claim the Kashmir region in full but rule parts of it. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies