Pakistani earthquake kills 208, creates new island in the sea
The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 metres off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.
(c) Screenshot: Youtube
(c) Screenshot: Youtube
Television channels showed images of a stretch of rocky terrain rising above the sea level, with a crowd of bewildered people gathering on the shore to witness the rare phenomenon.
CNN says the quake's tremors lasted about two minutes and that aftershocks could be felt in Karachi, hundreds of miles southeast of Awaran. The BBC added that the quake could be felt into Delhi, India's capital. Additionally, the British news service said that about 30 percent of the homes in Awaran had fallen during the quake and that many are feared to be trapped beneath the rubble. The United States Geological Survey has issued a "red" alert for the earthquake, which means the agency is predicting more than 1,000 could be dead and the cost of damages could rise above $1 billion.
The death toll from a powerful earthquake in southwestern Pakistan rose to at least 208 people on Wednesday after hundreds of houses collapsed in a remote mountainous area, a local official said.
"We have started to bury the dead," said Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, the most affected district in Baluchistan province. He said at least 373 people were wounded.
The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck a remote part of southwestern Pakistan jumped to 173 on Wednesday, officials said, as rescue teams rushed to the area.
The 7.7-magnitude quake hit in the Awaran district of Baluchistan province on Tuesday afternoon, destroying scores of mud-built houses.
A huge earthquake hit southwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 46 people, toppling scores of homes and sending people around the region rushing into the streets in panic.
The 7.7-magnitude quake centred in Baluchistan province's Awaran district was felt as far afield as New Delhi and Dubai, residents said.
Officials said the quake, which struck at at 4:29 pm (1129 GMT), demolished dozens of houses in Awaran, 350 kilometres (219 miles) southwest of the Baluchistan provincial capital Quetta. Its epicentre was 20 kilometres below ground.
The area is sparsely populated and most buildings are mud-built. But the US Geological Survey issued a red alert, warning that heavy casualties were likely based on past data.
"A large number of houses have collapsed in the area and we fear the death toll may rise," said Rafiq Lassi, police chief for Awaran district.
The provincial government declared an emergency in Awaran and the military mobilised medical teams as well as 200 soldiers and paramilitary troops to help with the immediate relief effort.
"We have received reports that many homes in Awaran district have collapsed. We fear many deaths," Jan Muhammad Baledi, a spokesman for the Baluchistan government, said on the ARY news channel.
"There are not many doctors in the area but we are trying to provide maximum facilities in the affected areas."
Television footage showed collapsed houses, caved-in roofs and people sitting in the open air outside their homes, the rubble of mud and bricks scattered around them.
According to the Meteorological Department, the epicentre of the 7.7 magnitude earthquake was 120Km southwest of Khuzdar in Balochistan province at a depth of 10 kilometres. The US Geological Survey measured the earthquake at 7.8 magnitude.
Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch declared emergency in Awaran district which was the most affected by the earthquake. At least 32 people were killed when their homes and the building of a school collapsed. Officials said the tremors demolished dozens of mud houses and it was feared that the death toll would increase. FC sources said that a Levies Force camp was also damaged in the Labash area of Awaran.
Pakistan army soldiers have left for the affected district to begin rescue efforts.
Speaking to Geo News, Chief Meteorologist Muhammad Riaz said: “this was a major earthquake and heavy destruction is likely.”
Residents of cities where tremors were left ran out of their offices and homes onto the roads. Apart from Awaran there have been no reports of major damage or loss of life in other cities.
Light tremors were also felt in Northern India, Iran, UAE and Oman.
A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, with tremors felt as far away as the Indian capital Delhi.
The quake struck at 4:29 pm local time (1129 GMT) around 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the city of Khuzdar in Baluchistan province, at a depth of 15 kilometres.
The USGS originally gave the earthquake a 7.4 strength at 29 kilometres but later revised their figure. Pakistan's meteorological office gave the magnitude as 7.7.
Minor tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, while office workers in the city of Ahmedabad near the border with Pakistan ran out of buildings and into the street.
In April a 7.8-magnitude quake centred in southeast Iran, close to the border with Baluchistan, killed 41 people and affected more than 12,000 on the Pakistan side of the border.