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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

500 dead and hundreds injured after M7.7 Earthquake hit Awaran in Pakistan's Balochistan

More than 500 people have died and over 500 were injured due to the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Awaran in Balochistan province of Pakistan on 24 September 2013. Six districts of Balochistan were affected by the quake, including Awaran, Turbat, Panjgor, Chagi, Khuzdar and Gawadar. More than 100,000 people were reportedly troubled by this natural disaster. Awaran district witnessed widespread devastation, where in Tehsil Mashkay alone 55 persons died.

Awaran earthquake struck at 4:29 PM PST (11:29 GMT) and lasted for about 10 seconds. The scale of the territory involved is daunting. 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). Mir Quddus Bizenjo, the deputy speaker of Balochistan Assembly, put the death toll at 150-plus in Awaran alone and told reporters by phone: "Over 50% of urban and around 90% of rural areas of the district have been ravaged by the quake".

Tremors were also felt in Quetta, Hub, Khuzdar, Qalat, Sibi, Mastung, Jafferabad, Turbat, Panjgor, Kharan, Jhal Magsi, Noshki, Kalat, Mastung, Sibi, Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Lasbela, Dalbandin, Gawadar, Pasni, Ormara and and dozens of other cities and towns of the impoverished province. However, except Turbat, no loss of life reported in these areas.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the epicentre of the 7.7 magnitude earthquake was 120 KM Southwest of Khuzdar in Balochistan province at a depth of 23 kilometers. US Geological Survey measured the epicenter of Balochistan quake at 69km (41 miles) north of Awaran, Pakistan, and 270 KM north of Karachi, Pakistan.

Pakistan government and Balochistan govt ordered a massive rescue operation. Army and civil rescuers were sent to the affected region to pull out dead and injured persons as residents said dozens of people are trapped under the rubble of their collapsed houses. According to an ISPR presses release, rescue and relief operations continue in the earthquake affected areas of Balochistan by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps troops.

Director General ISPR, Major General Asim Bajwa tweeted that 300 soldiers are already in the area, with the number expected to rise to 1000 by tomorrow morning. Khuzdar would be used as base for the rescue effort.

Several areas in Sindh including Karachi was also hit by tremors, but its duration being brief, no damage was done. People working in offices of Karachi, rushed out of their buildings. Minor tremors were also felt in India and Gulf states of UAE & Oman.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

M7.7 Earthquake struck Pakistan's Balochistan, Tremors felt in Sindh, Hundreds of people dead and injured

M7.7 Earthquake jolted Balochistan province of Pakistan, while tremors were felt in Sindh also. The quake struck on 24 September 2013 at 4:29 PM PST (11:29 GMT) and its epicentre was 66 KM NNE from Awaran in Balochistan at a depth of 15 kilometers. Meteorological Department measured the earthquake at 7.7 magnitude on the Richter scale. More than 500 people were left dead due to the natural disaster. Chief spokesman for Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, Mirza Kamran Zia, said that most of the casualties occurred when houses collapsed on people inside. Hundreds of people are also reported injured.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially measured the Awaran Quake at 7.4 on the Richter scale and 29 kilometers deep but later revised their figure to 7.7 magnitude. Chief meteorologist, Muhamamd Riaz warned that aftershocks were expected and damages are likely as this was a major earthquake. Director Seismic Zahid Rafiq told that the duration of the shocks lasted from 6 to 10 seconds. He further told there is still a possibility of the after-shocks and directed people to remain vigilant.

Epicentre is located 120 KM southwest from Khuzdar and the area is sparsely populated. Officials from the Pakistan Meteorological Department have said that major damage and loss of life was averted as the center of the earthquake is located in a remote area. Met office representatives have however warned of after-shocks of up to 5 magnitude.

Commissioner Gwadar and Additional Deputy Commissioner Awaran said several houses have been damaged in the area. Deputy Commissioner Awaran has declared emergency at hospitals. Commissioner Quetta has placed the administration in all districts on high alert. Chief Minister Balochistan declared emergency in Awaran.

The earthquake created a small island on the Gwadar coastline about 1.5 KM into the sea near an area called "Jhanda", according to Express News. The newly appearing island is said to have a mountainous terrain rising up to about 50 feet. A large crowd gathered at the site to see the new island.

Tremors were felt for several seconds in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Nawabshah and other cities of Sindh. Shocks were also observed in Quetta Qalat, Gwadar, Mastung and other parts of Balochistan. People working in offices of Karachi, rushed out of their buildings and sat on the footpaths along the roads or stood away from the buildings.

Light tremors were also felt in India, UAE and Oman. According to the Times of India, office workers in the city of Ahmedabad near the border with Pakistan ran out of buildings and into the streets afraid of the jolts caused by Pakistan quake. Minor tremors shook tall buildings in New Delhi, sending people running out into the streets.