At least 40 people were killed and over 300 injured in a powerful earthquake that rattled Pakistan on Tuesday, an official with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said yesterday.
NDMA spokesman Irshad Bhatti said all the causalities took place in Mashkel area of Washuk district in the country’s south-western province of Balochistan. “The rescue teams confirmed that 40 people were killed and over 300 were injured and it is possible that the number of causalities could rise further, as many people are still buried under debris,” added Bhatti.
He also said the Military Operations Directorate of the Pakistan Army was leading the rescue work and had already sent the 62 Wing of Frontier Corps Balochistan and army troops, along with teams of doctors and paramedical staff, to the earthquake hit areas.
Army teams airlifted food items, tents and medicine to the quake-hit areas. Talking about the difficulties in the rescue operation, Bhatti said the scattered population pockets in the quake-affected areas were affecting the disaster estimates and rescue operations.
The NDMA authorities had already sent a request to the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) to get the imagery of the affected area to speed up the rescue operations.
As per the Pakistan Meteorological Office, an earthquake measuring 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale hit southern and southwestern parts of the country on Tuesday afternoon, with its epicenter located at a depth of 76 km in Iran’s mountainous area of Khash, near Pakistan’s border.
Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistani army’s spokesman, told the media that two helicopters were taking part in the rescue operation and had already lifted several injured and shifted them to the hospitals in the Washuk, Khuzdar and Quetta districts of the province.
Media had reported that over 1,000 houses, in the quake-hit areas that are home to over 35,000 people, were destroyed in the natural disaster.
7.9 The magnitude of the quake that shook the region
1000 The number of houses that were destroyed in the earthquake