At least 135 dead in Balochistan quake

QUETTA: The death toll from the earthquake in Balochistan has risen to 135, Dilawar Kakar, a mayor in the area said.

The 6.4 magnitude quake hit a rural area of the province before dawn on Wednesday.
Kakar said 135 deaths have been confirmed and that the figure will likely rise as rescuers reach remote villages.

He said hundreds more have been injured and some 15,000 people left homeless and appealed for help.

Minister for Revenue and Rehabilitation Zamaruk Khan said the government was preparing to provide food, shelter and medical care to survivors of the quake.
‘Eight villages in Ziarat have been badly affected and there are still many areas which have not yet been reached,’ Khan told Reuters.

Separately, a district offiial said at least 80 people were killed when the quake struck the region bringing down hundreds of mud-walled houses.
The US Geological Survey said a 6.4 magnitude quake hit 60 km northeast of the city of Quetta before dawn.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department put the magnitude at 6.5 and said the quake struck at 05:10 a.m.

‘I’m telling you that 80 people are dead in this area where I am standing right now,’ Sohail-ur-Rehman, a top district administration official in Balochistan province told Dawn Television by telephone from Wam district.
Officials in Ziarat district, 70 km northeast of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, said many houses collapsed in the quake and some were destroyed in landslides trigged by the quake.

‘Hundreds of mud houses have collapsed. We are using whatever resources we have to help the people and have asked for help from the provincial government,’ said Ziarat district chief Dilawar Khan.

‘There is a large number of injured people but we don’t have an exact figure,’ he said.
Khan said people in the worst-hit areas had been rescued but teams had yet to reach some remote places in mountains above the Ziarat valley.
Ziarat district has a population of about 50,000. Its scenic valley is a picnic spot.
Five people had been killed in neighbouring Pishin district, to the north of Quetta, district government officials said.

‘We were fast asleep when the tremor struck. We grabbed the children and ran outside. The earth continued shaking for more than a minute,’ said Habibullah, a resident of Pishin. He said no one had been hurt in his neighbourhood.
District government officials and hospital staff in the provincial capital, Quetta, said scores of people had been injured, most when mud walls collapsed or in the panic when people rushed from their homes.

The Meteorological Department said two tremors had struck before dawn, the second one bigger than the first.

Quetta resident Amjad Hussain said there had been panic in the city. ‘There were two tremors, the second one was serious and people rushed out of their houses,’ Hussain said.

Quetta was largely destroyed and about 30,000 people were killed in a severe earthquake in 1935.

The region’s worst earthquake was in October 2005 when about 75,000 people were killed, most of them in mountainous northern Pakistan, in a 7.6 magnitude quake.
Large parts of south Asia are seismically active because a plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province but its most thinly populated. It has the country’s biggest reserves of natural gas but there were no reports of damage to gas facilities. (Dawn)


Updated at: 1120 PST, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

QUETTA: More than 100 people have been killed in an earthquake struck parts of Balochistan whereas scores of people still trapped under the rubbles.

Dozend of injured are under treatment as government has imposed emergency in all the hospitals of the province.

Pishin, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Loralai, Sibbi, Mastung are hit badly areas. Several houses and buildings have been collapsed.

According to geological survey of Pakistan, the epicenter of the quake was in Chiltan mountains. Ziarat is the worst hit area where 10 people were killed after land sliding whereas four people were killed in Khanozai. Death toll in different parts of Balchistan has reached to 33. Ten bodies had recovered from the rubbles and shifted to hospital in Ziarat.

According to ISPR, contingents of FC have been dispatched in affected areas for rescue operations along with medical team. Two army helicopters have also been sent in Wachun and Kowas villages for rescue operations.

Deputy director of geological survey of Pakistan Asif Rana told Geo News that more aftershocks are expected in these areas within next 48 hours. (The News)


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