On October 8, 2005, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake shook the Kashmir region (a disputed territory controlled in part by Pakistan and India), along with sections of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. More than 80,000 people perished as a result of the quake, while an estimated 4 million others were left homeless.
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On September 19, 1985, a powerful earthquake struck Mexico City and left 10,000 people dead, 30,000 injured and thousands more homeless.
On September 21, 1999, an earthquake in Taiwan killed thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damages, leaving an estimated 100,000 homeless.
On October 17, 1989, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area, killing 67 people and causing more than $5 billion in damages.
On April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake shook San Francisco in the early morning hours, leaving the city in shambles.
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K2, the world’s second highest mountain after Everest, lies partly in northern Pakistan and partly in China. K2 has an elevation of more than 28,250 feet.
The Kashmir earthquake took place shortly after 8:50 a.m. local time and was centered about 12 miles northeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. (Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought a series of wars for control of Kashmir. Today, the two nations, along with China, each administer a portion of the region.)
Kashmir is located at the juncture of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates—the collision of which caused the formation of the Himalaya Mountains—making it prone to intense seismic activity. The 2005 earthquake was among the worst to ever hit the region. It caused extensive destruction in Pakistan-administered Kashmir; Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province; the western and southern regions of the Kashmir Valley, part of India-administered Kashmir; and northern Pakistan. Damage also was reported in northern India and Afghanistan.
In some places, whole sections of towns slid off cliffs and entire families were killed. The Muzaffarabad area suffered severe devastation, and the town of Balakot in the North-West Frontier Province was almost completely destroyed. The quake occurred just before the onset of the region's harsh winter, exacerbating the disaster's effects. In addition, landslides wiped out large numbers of the region's roads, making many of the damaged areas inaccessible to relief workers in the immediate aftermath. In all, more than 80,000 people died as a result of the quake and an estimated 4 million others were left homeless.
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