QUETTA: A strong earthquake jolted Balochistan early Wednesday killing over 215 people, injuring hundreds of others and destroying houses and government buildings, officials said.
The 6.5 magnitude tremor struck villages and small towns 45 miles north of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, around, 4:33 a.m., according to the state television.
The epicenter of the earthquake was about 400 miles southwest of Islamabad, with towns and villages in the Ziarat district appeared to be the worst hit area. The cities and towns struck by the tremor included Pishin, Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Loralai, Sibbi and Mastung, rural areas all lying close to Balochistan’s border with Afghanistan.
The death toll could rise as rescue workers move into more remote villages. Hundreds of others had been injured in the tremor and perhaps 15,000 left homeless and in need of help.
Officials said that more than 150 dead bodies had been recovered so far and the government was providing food, shelter and medical care to those who survived the devastation.
Pakistan’s army rushed its medical teams on helicopters into Khawas and other towns and villages, 25 doctors are busy providing first aid to the injured.
Balochistan’s capital, Quetta, was spared the brunt of the force, but there were injuries.
“We were fast asleep at the time of quake and when awakened by the shocks we took no time to come out of our houses,” said Wahidullah, a resident of Quetta.
Pakistan is prone to violent earthquake upheavals. In October 2005, a magnitude-7.6 quake devastated Kashmir and northern Pakistan, killing about 80,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.