Nature’s wrath: 34 die in Balochistan as earth quakes

Published: April 17, 2013
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7.8-magnitude quake strikes southeast Iran at depth of 82km; tremors felt across Pakistan and as far as the Gulf states and New Delhi. MAP SOURCE: USGS

7.8-magnitude quake strikes southeast Iran at depth of 82km; tremors felt across Pakistan and as far as the Gulf states and New Delhi. MAP SOURCE: USGS

ISLAMABAD / KARACHI / SUKKUR / QUETTA: 

Balochistan bore the brunt of the powerful earthquake that struck southeast Iran near the border with Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 34 people and wounding more than 200.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude quake hit at 3:45pm (Pakistan time) at a depth of 82km. The epicentre was 198km southeast of the Iranian city of Zahedan and 250km northwest of Turbat in Balochistan. The tremors were felt across Pakistan and as far as the Gulf States and New Delhi.

Details emerging from the province said 34 people were killed and more than 200 were injured in Mashkhel district, which was the worst affected by the calamity. Countless houses and buildings were flattened in the disaster.

A senior administration official of the border region confirmed to The Express Tribune that the casualties were based on initial reports, saying “We are still waiting for details from far flung regions.”

Qasim Mulazai, a journalist from Kharan district, also confirmed the casualties in Mashkhel to The Express Tribune, adding that over 1,500 houses were destroyed.

But the remote location of the region is making it difficult for authorities to collect accurate data.

Deputy Commissioner Washuk Khan Muhammad Bangulzai said the communication system and infrastructure in Mashkhel was in ruins, adding that the worst hit areas were 300km away from the district headquarters which meant the relief work began much after the quake. “I can’t tell you the exact death toll yet,” he said.

Director General Provincial Disaster Management Authority Tahir Minhas said the authority had begun relief work and sent relief trucks to Khalid Airbase from where they would be airlifted to the stricken areas.

Around 60 tents, 50 blankets and 50 food packets had been dispatched to the airbase and a team of doctors was also ready to take-off for Mashkhhel.

The Balochistan government has declared a state of emergency, and Caretaker Chief Minister Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Barozai also requested the army and Frontier Corps for help in relief work.

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Army begins relief, rescue operation

The Pakistan Army has started relief and rescue operations in the quake-hit areas of Balochistan, said a statement from the ISPR.

FC troops from the 62 Wing located in Mashkhel were tasked by the Headquarters Southern Command to respond to the natural calamity, and additional FC troops were moved from Kharan.

Army helicopters were also flown to Mashkhel along with medical staff, tents, medicines and other relief items.

“900 kilogrammes of medicine and 5 tons of rations have reached Mashkhel,” the ISPR statement said.

Quake causes panic in Sindh, Punjab

Tremors were felt in Sindh and Punjab as well, causing panic and immediate evacuation of offices, towers and residential buildings.

In Karachi, shocks were felt different parts of the city, causing people to run outdoors in panic. Major thoroughfares and roads were gridlocked as people tried to get home in a hurry. Apart from Karachi, tremors were felt all the way in upper Sindh, including Sukkur, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and Larkana.

Businesses and residences were also evacuated in Lahore as a precautionary measure as many areas of the city experienced tremors.

Iran relatively unscathed

On the other hand, Iran appeared to have emerged relatively unscathed with state media reporting that 27 people were injured.

Soon after the quake, an Iranian official told Reuters he expected hundreds of dead and state media quoted unconfirmed reports of 40 fatalities in Iran.

But Hatam Narouyi, Governor of Sistan Baluchistan province, said there were “no fatalities”, the student news agency ISNA reported.

People in the city of Zahedan poured into the streets when it struck, Fars news agency reported.

Iranian Red Crescent official Morteza Moradipour said emergency crews, including dog teams to sniff through the debris for any buried survivors, had reached the area.

UN, US offer help

The UN and US have offered to help Iran and Pakistan following the devastating earthquake, a spokesman said.

“The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is in contact with the authorities in Iran and Pakistan and is monitoring the situation and stands ready to assist upon request,” spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

“The US does stand ready to assist either Iran or Pakistan at this point,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2013. 

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Usman786
    Apr 17, 2013 - 4:29AM

    time to win hearts of Balochs

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  • BLing BLing
    Apr 17, 2013 - 6:10AM

    My thoughts and prayers are with victims of both the countries

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  • VAIBHAV
    Apr 17, 2013 - 7:06AM

    i can imagine the magnitude of quake in the bordering areas of pakistan-iran
    bcz we felt it clearly in delhi.
    sad to hear the casualities.

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  • Ali Zaid
    Apr 17, 2013 - 7:15AM

    Chemtrails threat should be taken very seriously now. This earthquake might be the part of anticipated Weather Warfare imposed globally by HAARP..
    Consecutive earthquakes with fewer aftershocks near Bushehr and Chaghi are being considered a product of HAARP/DARPA in a bid to destabilize the Nuclear installations of Iran and Pakistan. Last year’s Gayari sector avalanche (which killed 135) also pointed fingers towards this terrorist institution of USA.
    These might all be the conspiracy theories but if HAARPA is behind it, we should seriously think of building a defense mechanism!

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Apr 17, 2013 - 7:40AM

    Our borders are artificial. To nature, it is one land and one ocean.

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  • Enlightened
    Apr 17, 2013 - 7:57AM

    @Usman786:
    Agree with your comments.

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  • Raj Kafir
    Apr 17, 2013 - 8:12AM

    Sad. Mother Nature always wins.

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  • enu
    Apr 17, 2013 - 8:26AM

    Whats the damage to houses? How many people homeless? Whats the state of relief camps? How can we help? Some pictures would be good.

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  • Fly on the wall
    Apr 17, 2013 - 4:31PM

    HAARP, as I understand, is in the hands of the islamic state of Abu Dhabi. The area lies within the faultlines and beneath the Himalayan ranges, lies the tectonic plates. The entire area is ecologically fragile, and not even an explosion by any terrorist group should have been allowed to go off, or people letting off steam and creating havoc at the drop of a hat. However, the population of the region, Pakistan included, think otherwise and decided to go nuclear, invested in black technology, and detonated the devices under the guise of ‘conducting tests’. In other words, the population decided to nuke themselves, or as in Pakistan’s case, nuke its neighbour, such as Baluchistan in order to subdue the nation. It was a suicidal route to take and they know it. This world will be turned into an asteroid belt, drifting into space, if this crazy behaviour continues. The glaciers are melting in the region and with it will come the consequences that no one can remedy.

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