Death toll rises to 328 in SW Pakistan's quake

Updated: 2013-09-26 07:05


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ISLAMABAD - At least 328 people were killed and 500 others injured since Tuesday afternoon when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province, official sources said here on Wednesday.

In a press briefing, officials from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that the earthquake tremors seriously affecting Awaran and Kech Districts of Balochistan due to which a total of 285 deaths and 373 injuries were recorded in Awaran and 43 fatalities and 72 injuries were reported from Kech.

Later in a Telephonic interview with Xinhua on Wednesday night, Jan Muhammad Buledi, spokesperson of Balochistan government, confirmed that the number of injured people has risen to 500 from 445, earlier reported by NDMA, as 55 more wounded people were recovered from the affected areas.

"All the people from the urban areas has been pulled out of the rubbles by the rescue teams, however, death toll may further rise as there are many affected people in the far flung areas of the province where rescue teams couldn't even reach yet due to disruption in road traffic due to earthquake," the spokesperson said.

Talking to Xinhua, Brigadier Pervez Khan, director general of Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Center said that rescue and relief activities in the area are being carried out. However, over 1000 people are feared dead in the calamity as many remote quake-hit areas of Awaran are yet to be accessed by the rescue teams.

Awaran, located about 645 km away from Balochistan's capital Quetta, is house to 300,000 people and is among one of the country 's least-developed districts where health, medical and other facilities are not easily available.

Rasheed Gadozai, deputy commissioner of Awaran, told local media that an estimated 280,00 people have been affected in Awaran, while losses in some of the district's far-flung areas are yet to be determined as rescue teams couldn't reach there yet.

He said about 40 to 50 percent houses in urban area and 90 percent houses in rural areas leveled to ground.

The Balochistan government has declared emergency in the six quake-hit districts.

Provincial government kicked off rescue operation in the area and announced to allocate a budget of about 1.6 million U.S. dollars for immediate rescue and relief of the affected people. The government dispatched two trucks carrying food for the affected people.

District Commissioner Awaran sought help from army and government for the affected people as the district administration does not have adequate facilities to provide relief to the affected people.

The NDMA said that Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps and the civil administration are carrying out rescue efforts in the affected region. Urban Search and Rescue Teams with search dogs and technical equipment have also been dispatched to the affected areas.

The teams involved in rescue and relief operations also include doctors and paramedic staff. A field hospital is being established at Awaran and additional teams comprising doctors and paramedics have also been sent out. A number of military and civil hospitals along with ambulances are engaged in rescue and relief efforts.

NDMA has placed 5,000 tents and provided 7,000 food packs (53 Kg each) to the affected areas.

Pakistan army sent 1600 troops to the worst hit areas of Khuzdar and Awaran, and shifted 174 people to hospital after recovering them from the debris of the collapsed houses.

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