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Death toll in tremor rises to 40 in Pakistan; aftershock of 6 magnitude felt today

Damage caused by earthquake in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
Damage caused by earthquake in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

The death toll in yesterday’s earthquake in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province has risen to 40 and there are apprehensions that the toll may rise further.

Islamabad, April 17/Nationalturk – The death toll in yesterday’s earthquake in Pakistan’s southwestern restive Balochistan province has risen to 40 with fresh aftershocks of 6 magnitude being felt in the region early Wednesday morning.

“The death toll at Maskhail stands at 40. The dead include men, women and children,” Major Attiq Minhas of paramilitary Frontier Corps Balochistan said.

A major earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on Richter scale struck a region near Iran-Pakistan border yesterday. The major brunt of the earthquake was borne by Pakistan’s Balochistan province, bordering Iran.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 10:44 GMT at a depth of 15.2 km. The epicentre was in southeast Iran in an area of mountains and desert. “It was located 201 km southeast of the Iranian city of Zahedan and 250 km northwest of Turbat in Pakistan,” USGS had said.

According to Pakistani officials, over 200 people have been injured and hundreds of mud houses collapsed in Mashkail Tehsil of Wahuk district in Balochistan on Pak-Iran border due to tremblor. “About 1000  houses also suffered damage in Mashkail area, which was worst hit by the earthquake”.

Efforts to help the survivors have been hampered by Mashkail’s remote location, communities are scattered, there are no paved roads, no electricity and limited mobile phone coverage, and no proper medical facilities.

Officials  said immediately after the tremor, Balochistan government and Pakistan Army launched rescue operation in the affected region.

“Five military helicopters were taking adequate supplies of medicines, dry ration, blankets and tents flew to Mashkail. The relief items were distributed among the affectees and 16 injured were brought to CMH Quetta after airlifting them from the Mashkail,” a Pakistan army spokesman said.

Meanwhile, officials in Balochistan said since  large area of Balochistan bordering Iran has been hit, death toll might rise further.

“Many people have suffered critical injuries and the death toll is likely to go up,” they said.

The tremors were also felt in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Larkana, Jacobabad, Quetta and other cities of Pakistan, which created panic amongst people. The earthquake was also felt in Indian administered Kashmir, India, Gulf countries and other parts of South Asia. However, no casualties were reported.

A local health official in Iran told the Fars news agency that more than 20 villages in Iran were probably “severely damaged”, based on initial reports.

At least 27 people were hurt in Iran, according to a local governor speaking to the IRNA news agency, but there was no immediate confirmation of any deaths.

Aftershock of 6 magnitude hits region again

An aftershock earthquake measuring 6 on Richter scale hit the Mashkel Tehsil of Washuk district of Balochistan on Pakistan-Iran border Wednesday.

The officials said the fresh aftershocks caused panic in the area with people running out of their houses and spending some time in open.  Later, they returned to their homes and resumed their normal chores.

US, UN offers help

United States Secretary of State John Kerry offered help to Pakistan.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the dead and to the injured. We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time,” he said.

The United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has also expressed condolences with Pakistan over losses of life in the earthquake.

“I will continue to follow the news closely as relief workers and search-and-rescue teams reach the areas. The United Nations stands ready to help as necessary if asked to do so,” he said.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk Pakistan News

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