Strong Quake Shakes Thinly Populated Area Of Pakistan

· Sep. 24, 2013, 3:29 pm

(This post last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET)

There was a strong, 7.7-magnitude earthquake in southern Pakistan on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. It’s been followed by several aftershocks — one of them with a 5.9-magnitude.

Reuters quotes the deputy speaker of Baluchistan province as saying 30 people have been killed and about a third of the homes in the Awaran district of Baluchistan province, about 200 miles northwest of the port city of Karachi, have been destroyed. The Associated Press quotes the chief spokesman for the country’s National Disaster Management Authority, Mirza Kamran Zia, as putting the death toll at 39.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper quotes the director of the regional Disaster Management Authority says “some houses have been damaged in Awaran and Chaghai areas of Balochistan.”

The affected area — “145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan” — is thinly populated, according to Dawn.

Local television video shows residents in Quetta, about 160 miles north of the epicenter, running from homes and offices in panic, according to The AP. The quake was also felt in Karachi. The news agency reports:

“One man told Pakistan’s Dunya television channel that he was sitting in his office when the building started shaking.

Other residents said people started reciting verses from Islam’s holy book, the Quran, when the quake began.”

NPR’s Richard Harris notes that “when a quake strikes in a remote area, it can take many hours or even days to hear about the extent of damage it causes.”

In 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan’s northern region of Kashmir, killing 75,000 people. In 2011, a 7.2-magnitude temblor struck roughly the same region of Pakistan hit on Tuesday. There were no casualties directly attributed to that quake. Another in April of this year, also in Baluchistan, killed 35 people.

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