Earthquake kills at least 208 in Pakistan
Tremor creates new island offshore
Pakistani office workers in Karachi congregate in the street after the quake (AFP photo by Rizwan Tabassum)
A strong, 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit southern Pakistan in Balochistan province on Tuesday killing at least 208 people, officials said.
The strong tremor could be felt as far away as New Delhi, prompting panicked office workers and residents out onto the streets in Karachi after it struck at 16:29 local time at a depth of 20km, according to the US Geological Survey.
The tremor reportedly created a small island off the coast near the port of Gwadar, not far from Pakistan’s western border with Iran.
The epicenter was located just north of Awaran, a remote area 200kms northwest of Karachi where there was extensive damage in six districts, said Jan Muhammad Buledi, a local government spokesman.
“Emergencies have been declared in all of these districts to help those affected by the quake,” he added.
Abdul Rasheed, deputy commissioner of Awaran, said that at least 373 people were injured and 90 percent of mud houses -- traditional in the area -- were flattened.
The earthquake damaged communication systems around the epicenter, undermining relief efforts as the army dispatched helicopters, rescue workers and medical teams.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed his condolences to the victims and instructed the National Disaster Management Authority to provide all necessary help to the victims.
Yesterday’s earthquake is the strongest in Pakistan since October 2005, when a 7.6 magnitude devastated Kashmir and adjoining regions, killing at least 73,000 people and leaving 3.5 million homeless.
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