Pakistan Earthquake Kills Hundreds

Most people live in easily-collapsible mud homes, and many are feared to be trapped under the rubble.

A powerful earthquake killed at least 250 people and injured 340 more in Pakistan’s remote southwest province of Balochistan on Tuesday, flattening entire villages and even causing a new small island to appear off near the port of Gwadar. The 7.7-magnitude quake was so powerful that it could be felt as far away as Karachi and even in India’s Delhi. Already a presence in the area due to the separatist Baloch insurgency, Pakistan’s military responded quickly in the regional capital, Quetta, but the mountainous terrain has made it difficult to reach survivors.

BBC:

"The army says it has sent more than 200 soldiers, medical teams and tents from the regional capital Quetta.

But the mountainous terrain and loss of communications is hampering the rescue operation.

Helicopters have been airlifting the most seriously injured to Karachi, while others are being cared for in neighbouring districts.

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

The affected area is vast, impoverished and sparsely-populated. Awaran district reportedly has around 300,000 residents.

Most people live in easily-collapsible mud homes, and many are feared to be trapped under the rubble.

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."

The director of the National Seismic Monitoring Center confirmed that the mass was created by the quake and said scientists were trying to determine how it happened. Zahid Rafi said such masses are sometimes created by the movement of gases locked in the earth that push mud up to the surface.

He said these types of islands can remain for a long time or eventually subside back into the ocean, depending on their makeup.

Residents were warned not to visit the island because it was emitting dangerous gases.

But dozens of people went anyway, including the deputy commissioner of Gwadar district, Tufail Baloch.

About Diane Sweet

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Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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