Death toll in Asian quake tops 1,000
Official says number of dead could rise
(CNN) -- Darkness is hampering the search for survivors of Saturday's major earthquake that rocked south Asia.
The magnitude 7.6 quake, which has generated strong aftershocks, is feared to have caused thousands of deaths in Pakistan, India, the Pakistani- and Indian-administered areas of the disputed territory of Kashmir, and in Afghanistan.
The confirmed death toll now stands at 1,062.
The quake hit at 8:50 a.m. local time on Saturday (11:50 p.m. Friday ET) . The epicenter was about 60 miles north-northeast of Islamabad.
The effects of the quake -- estimated to be the most intense in the region in a century -- were felt hundreds of miles away.
It was felt in major cities, including Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, India's capital of New Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore.
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and the country's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, "expressed their profound grief over the tragic loss of life and damage to property as a result of the quake," according to a statement issued by the government.
The death toll in Pakistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir now stands at 805, authorities say.
That includes 350 in North-West Frontier province, 220 in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, and 200 in the Pakistani cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The figures come from police, the Interior Ministry and local hospitals.
In Indian-controlled Kashmir, at least 256 people were dead. Officials estimated some 500 homes in the region had been destroyed.
In New Delhi, some 406 miles from Islamabad, buildings swayed and furniture moved, causing widespread panic among residents, many of whom rushed into the streets. The Indian government activated its national disaster plan.
Indian controls the Jammu-Kashmir state of India and Pakistan controls Azad Kashmir. The disputed territory is separated by a territorial border called the Line of Control.
The quake also killed one person in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Some houses in the region reportedly collapsed. Damage and casualties were also reported in remote northeast Afghanistan.
Technical Sgt. Marina Evans, speaking for the U.S.-led coalition forces in Kabul, said the earthquake was felt in the Afghan capital of Kabul "but the effects were minimal. Items, on desks shook but nothing fell from the walls or shelves. No Coalition assets were damaged and no one was injured."
"At this time, we have not received any requests to assist in the earthquake recovery efforts," she said.
Many citizens were still in their beds at the time of the quake. Witness Malik Abdul Manan said he and his family "woke up and ran out. The shocks went on for a long time." (Survivors describe shock awakening)
"This was the strongest earthquake in the area during the last hundred years," Qamar Uz Zaman, director-general of the Pakistani Meteorological Department, told CNN.
A series of aftershocks, including one of 6.3 magnitude and four more at 5.4 or above, rattled the region, creating new panic among residents. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, many people refused to return indoors out of fear of a new quake.
Frantic efforts to rescue survivors were under way in Islamabad, where an apartment building collapsed.
Video footage from Pakistani television showed crowds of people climbing on the rubble of the building and attempting to free those trapped under large concrete slabs. Some of the injured were carried away on stretchers.
Musharraf and Aziz reviewed rescue and relief operations at the site of the collapsed building -- the 10-story residential Margalla Tower.
About 70 to 80 people were trapped in the rubble, the government said.
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and senior military and civilian officials, were overseeing the operations and briefed the leaders.
The government said Pakistan Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Civil Administration and Capital Development Authority took part in the operations.
"The reaction has been very fast, people reached the site shortly after the earthquake and responded efficiently and I think they are following a right strategy," Musharraf said, according to a government statement.
City officials are trying to obtain heavy earth and rubble moving machinery from the private sector to help rescue the trapped people.
Landslides follow quake
The quake also triggered landslides, resulting in the closure of some highways, officials said.
The quake was "quite shallow," said David Applegate, senior science advisor for earthquake and geologic hazards for the U.S. Geological Survey. "That means the shaking is going to be very intense."
The fact that Islamabad was near the epicenter "means a fairly large urban population has experienced some strong shaking," Applegate said.
The National Earthquake Information Center put the quake at 7.6 magnitude, which it considers "major." The Pakistani Meteorological Department put the magnitude at 7.5, and Japan's Meteorological Agency put it at 7.8.
In February 2004, a pair of earthquakes registering 5.5 and 5.4 magnitude, respectively, killed at least 21 people and injured dozens more and destroyed hundreds of homes built of mud, stone and timber in a rugged, mountainous area about 90 miles northwest of Islamabad.
In January 2001, some 30,000 people died in a magnitude 7.7 quake in western India.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Satinder Bindra, CNN Producers Syed Mohsin Naqvi and John Raedler and Journalists Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar and Tom Coghlan in Kabul contributed to this report.
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