Earthquake in western Pakistan kills hundreds and creates island off coast
Tremors were felt hundreds of miles away in the Indian capital, Delhi, as well in the Pakistani port of Karachi
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday killed at least 208 people and prompted a new island to rise from the sea just off the country’s southern coast.
The death toll rose sharply on Wednesday after hundreds of mud houses collapsed on people in a remote area near the Iranian border, officials said.
The earthquake struck Pakistan’s thinly populated province of Baluchistan on Tuesday and was felt across South Asia.
It destroyed houses and cut communications with the worst affected district of Awaran, and was so powerful that it caused a small island to emerge from the sea just off the coastline in the Arabian Sea.
“We have started to bury the dead,” Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, told Reuters by telephone from the affected area.
He said at least 373 people were injured.
Abdul Qadoos, deputy speaker of the Baluchistan assembly, told Reuters at least 30% of houses in the impoverished Awaran district had collapsed.
The army deployed helicopters and hundreds of soldiers to help deal with the rescue effort in the huge, earthquake-prone province of deserts and rugged mountains bordering Iran and Afghanistan.
On the coast near Gwadar port, crowds of bewildered residents gathered to witness the rare phenomenon of the island that the quake forced out of the sea.
Tremors were felt hundreds of miles away in the Indian capital, Delhi, where buildings shook, as well as in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.
The US Geological Survey said the quake hit 145 miles south-east of Dalbandin in the quake-prone province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.
In the regional capital of Quetta, officials said some areas appeared to be badly damaged but it was hard to assess the impact immediately owing to the remoteness of the affected locations.
Local television reported that helicopters carrying relief supplies had been dispatched to the affected area. The army said it had deployed 200 troops to help deal with the disaster.