Pakistan's Balochistan Quake Devastates Nation, Hundreds Killed

Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 10:47 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The earthquake that has rocked Pakistan's Balochistan province has killed 328 people, and injured another 445 others, of which 190 are in critical condition as of late Wednesday, according to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The death toll from Tuesday's 7.7 magnitude earthquake is expected to rise, as rescue efforts continue throughout Pakistan's remote Balochistan province, where thousands of homes and in some cases entire villages have been wiped out, the Telegraph reported.

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Considering how remote many of the impacted villages are and the extent of the devastation, the Telegraph estimates that the death toll could reach 700 before the ongoing recovery effort concludes.

"We just can't say how many homes were destroyed," Brigadier Mirza Kamran Zia, director of the MDMA, told the Telegraph. "Most of the homes were very small mud houses. In some areas entire villages of a 100 or 200 houses have been razed to the ground. Telecommunications have suffered pretty badly."

Presently, Pakistani Army rescue units have been dispatched to assist in the recovery effort over an area of 8,000 square miles. According to Zia, it would take rescue specialists at least three days to reach all the affected areas.

Dr. Noor Baksh Bizenjo, medical superintendent of the district hospital in Arawan — the largest hospital near the quake's epicenter, said that the remoteness of the villages have made recovery efforts even more challenging.

"It's complete chaos here at the hospital. And we do not have 4x4 ambulances, so it's really tough to reach out to the affected areas, to bring the injured or even the dead bodies to the hospital," Bizenjo said.

"We are having difficulty reaching all the affected areas," added National Assembly Member Sayed Essa Nori, warning that the full extent of the damage caused by the earthquake has yet to be realized. "Most of the destruction has happened in far-flung villages in the border area, where there are hundreds still missing, with many villages completely destroyed."

Most of the victims were reportedly killed in their homes.

The regional capital of Quetta also sustained "serious damage," according to Pakistan officials.

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In wake of the devastating earthquake, an island emerged approximately 350 feet off the nation's Gwadar coast.

The island is said to be approximately 250 feet wide, 100 feet long, and 60 feet high, according to Pakistani Navy geologist Mohammed Danish, who was part of a team that visited the island early Wednesday morning.

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