Pakistan earthquake: Hundreds dead in Balochistan

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Balochistan: A powerful earthquake has killed at least 208 people in Pakistan’s remote south-west province of Balochistan.

The 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday afternoon at a depth of 20km (13 miles) north-east of Awaran, the US Geological Survey said.

Many houses were flattened and thousands of people have spent the night in the open.

After the quake, a small island appeared off the coast near the port of Gwadar, witnesses reported.
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People gathered on the beach to see the new island, which is about 9m (30ft) high and 100m long, Gwadar Police Chief Pervez Umrani said.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest but least populated province.

The region is prone to earthquakes, with at least 35 people killed in a 7.8-magnitude tremor that was centred in south-eastern Iran in April.
Mud houses


The latest quake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Karachi, Hyderabad, and India’s capital, Delhi.

Balochistan government spokesman Jan Buledi put the death toll at 208 and warned it could rise. At least 340 people have been injured.

“We are seriously lacking medical facilities and there is no space to treat injured people in the local hospitals,” Mr Buledi said.

He said helicopters were airlifting the most seriously injured to Karachi while others were being cared for in neighbouring districts.

Awaran local government official Abdul Rasheed Baluch said around 90% of houses in the district had been destroyed.
People rush out their apartments and offices in Karachi, Pakistan on 24 September 2013.

“Almost all the mud houses have collapsed. We have been busy in rescue efforts for the whole night and fear we will recover more dead bodies from under the rubble during daylight,” he said.

Many of the casualties are said to be from Labach, on the northern outskirts of Awaran town.

Houses are also reported to have caved in in the district of Khuzdar.

People in the region mostly live in mud houses as opposed to multi-storey concrete structures, says the BBC’s Shahzeb Jillani.

The few concrete buildings in the area mostly house government offices, he adds.

An emergency has been declared in the earthquake-affected districts of Awaran and Chagai.

Provincial disaster management officials say tents and medical supplies have been sent from Quetta and neighbouring district headquarters.

More than 200 soldiers have also been despatched for rescue efforts.

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