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Earthquake in Pakistan Kills At Least 45, Creates New Island

Image: Earthquake in Pakistan Kills At Least 45, Creates New Island

By Clyde Hughes   |   Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 12:45 PM

An earthquake shook a remote area of western Pakistan Tuesday, killing at least 45 people and creating a new island off the coast.

The powerful quake registered a magnitude 7.8, according to the United States Geological Survey. Researchers located the epicenter 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's earthquake-prone province of Baluchistan, along the Pakistan-Iran border.

The shifting plates lifted the seabed to create a new island about a third of a mile off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline.

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India's capital of New Delhi and Karachi, Pakistan also felt tremors from the earthquake, Reuters reported.

Pakistan officials said rescue operations are underway in the area, but efforts were challenging because some areas are so remote.

"We are trying to assess the damage," Baluch Home Secretary Asad Gilani told Reuters.
The news agency said that local television reported helicopters carrying relief supplies had been dispatched to the region while 200 Army troops were deployed to help in the relief effort.

BBC News reported that most of the earthquake's deaths happened in Labach, on the northern edge of Awaran, where some are trapped under collapsed houses. Pakistan officials said about 30 percent of the homes have been damaged in the Awaran district.

The regional capital of Quetta sustained "serious damage," but Pakistan officials said it was difficult to get early estimates because the area is also remote. Officials said most people living in the area live in mud houses as opposed to multi-story concrete structures.

Khair Mohammed Baluch told The Associated Press his family rushed outside of their home in the Awaran area when the earthquake hit.

"We all ran out for safety in the open field in front of our house," Baluch said. "Many other neighbors were also there. Thank God no one was hurt in our area but the walls of four or five house collapsed."

The AP reported the affected earthquake area is where insurgent Baluch separatists have waged a long war against the Pakistani government, regularly attacking government troops.

In April, a 7.8 earthquake just inside Pakistan's Iranian border killed 35 people. In January 2011, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake leveled about 200 homes in the sparsely populated area of Baluchistan.

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