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7.8 quake kills over 250 in Pakistan, creates new island

Houses collapsed in Pakistan’s Balochistan province due to earthquake.
Houses collapsed in Pakistan’s Balochistan province due to earthquake.

Over 250 people have been killed and hundred others injured in 7.7 earthquake that struck Pakistan on Tuesday forenoon. The tremor has also created a mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

Islamabad, Sept 25/Nationalturk – A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has killed over 250 people in Pakistan and created a mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

The 7.8 earthquake struck Pakistan on Tuesday forenoon with restive Balochistan province bearing the maximum brunt. The far flung Awaran district of Balochistan has suffered extensive damage in the tremor. Most structures in the district have collapsed or suffered extensive damage.

“207 people have died in the tremor in Awaran district only,” an official spokesman of Balochistan government said.

He said over 300 have been injured in the tremor.

The officials said seven people have also died of tremor in Turbat city in Kech district of Balochistan.

They further said that least 33 bodies were found in Mashkay area.

They said quake shook the areas for about one minute, forcing people to rush out of their homes. Kunri area of Awaran district was the epicentre of the quake. At least four aftershocks of 5.6 magnitude were felt in most areas.

Awaran district has an estimated population of around 300,000, scattered over an area of more than 21,000 square kilometres (8,000 square miles).

Houses collapses, roofs caved-in

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.

Officials said phone and road links between several areas in Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan have been disconnected. “Most of the buildings, including hospitals, schools and government buildings have suffered extensive damage,” the locals told media persons over phone.

“Pakistan’s armed forces including army, Navy and Air Force have started rescue operation. The Pakistan army helicopters have landed in the earthquake-hit areas and airlifted injured  to the hospitals. The soldiers are also distributing relief and tents among the quake-hit vicitims,” the officials said adding long distance and dilapidated condition of roads was hampering relief efforts.

They said large number of people were rescued from the debris of the collapses houses. “The injured were given emergency medical aid by army and FC doctors and paramedics.

The officials said rescue teams are working to recover dead bodies and injured, but their priority is to shift injured to hospitals as soon as possible.

“Over 80 per cent mud-houses ïn Awaran district have collapsed or badly damaged in the tremor. The death toll may go up as rescue teams have yet not been able to reach far-off those places,” top civil official of Balochistan province Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad was quoted as saying by Pakistan newspaper, The Dawn.

In a related development, a team of doctors and paramedics, who were going from Mashkel area to quake-hit Awaran district, was attacked by unknown gunmen during the preceding night.

“Unknown gunmen opened fire on the rescue team near Mashkel check post. However, nobody was injured in the firing incident,”officials said.

Quake measured 7.8 on Richter scale: US

US Geological survey said  the intensity of the quake was measured at 7.7 on the Richter scale.

An official of Pakistan meteorological office said the epicentre was located near Kharan area of Balochistan.

“It was a very very strong earthquake,” he said.

Tremors were also felt across Pakistan. The earthquake was also felt in Indian capital New Delhi and even Dubai in the Gulf.

Quake creates new Island

The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

“The island popped up soon after the earthquake. Our staff stationed in Gwadar has reported that the island is about one and a half kilometres away from the coastline,” Dr Asif Inam, the Principal Scientific Officer of the National Institute of Oceanography, was quoted as saying by media.

He said the island appears to be about 200 metres long, 20 metres high and 100 metres wide. “However, this needs to be verified scientifically. Detailed information will be available when the staff visits the site and collects samples”.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk Pakistan News

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