93 killed as 7.7 magnitude quake hits SW Pakistan

Updated: 2013-09-25 06:52


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93 killed as 7.7 magnitude quake hits SW Pakistan
People evacuate from buildings after a severe earthquake in Quetta, southwest Pakistan, on Sept. 24, 2013. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake jolted Pakistan at 7:29 p.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time), according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.  [Photo/Xinhua]

At least 93 people were killed and over 200 others injured as an earthquake of 7.7 magnitude jolted Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan on Tuesday afternoon, according to officials and media reports.

Local media quoting the spokesman of the Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary force, reported that Awaran district of the province was most affected by the earthquake where 80 people were killed, over 200 injured and hundreds of houses leveled to ground.

He said that several people were still trapped under debris of the collapsed houses and local rescue teams along with army troops were carrying out the rescue operation.

According to another report, at least eight people were killed in the Dandan area of Kech district while five causalities were reported from Pasini, Turbat, Hub and Gwadar districts.

There are contradictions in the number of causalities as the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly of Balochistan Abdul Qadoos Bazinjo said that over 150 people had been killed in the province, but other officials did not confirm it.

The injured people were being shifted to district hospital Awaran where several of them were in a critical condition. FC spokesman said the troops had shifted 70 bodies and dozens of injured to the hospital in Awaran.

Following the request from the district administration, Pakistan army sent 300 troops including rescue personnel and doctors along with medicines, tents, foods and helicopters to the area.

The Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR), mouthpiece of Pakistan army, said that they had setup a rescue base camp in the Khuzdar district of the province and had dispatched 300 troops to the affected areas and 700 more soldiers would join them in the Wednesday morning.

According to the country's National Disaster Management Authority, after the major earthquake that occurred at about 4:49 p.m. local time, five aftershocks hit the country including the one of 5.9 magnitude.

Bazinjo said that emergency had been declared in five districts of the province including Awaran where majority of the houses were razed to ground.

He said that several army check posts and two buildings of paramilitary troops Levis were also leveled to ground which injured several troops.

The earthquake's epicenter located in Awaran district, some 645 km away from the Balochistan's capital Quetta.

Major Tremors and aftershocks that lasted for 20 to 40 minutes also jolted south Sindh and east Punjab provinces. The earthquake created panic among the residents, however, no loss of life or property was reported in these areas.

President Mamnoon Hussain expressed sorrow over the natural disaster and directed the provincial government to provide best possible facilities to the affected people.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed grief over the calamity and asked the Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch to reach the affected areas as his representative to monitor the rescue work.