Death toll from earthquake in Balochistan rises to 328

30QUETTA, (SANA): The death toll from the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in Balochistan has risen to 328, over 500 were injured.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the federal government will provide every possible support to the earthquake victims. He directed ministers and departments responsible for dealing with the natural calamities to keep him informing 24 hours regarding the rescue activities.

He said that the federal government is standing with the victims on the hour of trial. Nawaz Sharif directed the Prime Minister House to directly monitor the relief activities in the affected areas.

Federal Minister Gen (retd) Adbul Qadir Baloch and State Minister Mir Jam Kamal reached in the affected areas on the directions of prime minister.

Officials said the tremors demolished hundreds of mud houses and it was feared that the death toll would increase. 95 percent area of Awaran has been badly affected from the earthquake; meanwhile 228 persons have been killed in the district and over 300 others have been injured. The earthquake affectees are facing severe problems as there is no clean water for drinking and there is shortage of food and medicines.

Balochistan government spokesman Jan Muhammad Buledi while speaking to media confirmed the death of 44 people in Kech district of the province, wile eight persons died in Turbat district of the province. Buledi said that all six districts of Balochistan were hit by the earthquake, which included Turbat, Awaran, Panjgor, Chagi, Khuzdar and Gwadar. Awaran witnessed widespread devastation, where in Tehsil Mashkay alone 55 persons died. The bodies of 20 madrassa students were also recovered from the district.

The provincial government has declared emergency. Rescue work is underway and the Frontier Corps and the Army are providing aid to the victims.

District Administration and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority are also doing its utmost to provide relief to the suffering people in the area.

“We are seriously lacking medical facilities and there is no space to treat injured people in the local hospitals. We are trying to shift seriously injured people to Karachi through helicopters and others to the neighbouring districts,” Buledi said.

Locals in Awaran said officials including the Chief Secretary only visited the area via helicopter and left. There is a dire need of clean water, food and shelter.

The scale of the territory involved is daunting. Awaran district has an estimated population of around 300,000, scattered over an area of more than 21,000 square kilometres (8,000 square miles).

According to an ISPR presses release, rescue and relief operations continue in the earthquake affected areas of Balochistan by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps troops.

So far, 174 wounded persons have been evacuated from different areas of Awaran to District hospital Awaran by Army/Frontier Corps troops. 7,000 kilograms of food items, 1,000 kilograms medicine and 200 tents have been distributed among the earthquake affectees. Cooked food is also being provided to homeless people in Awaran.

Field Medical facility comprising 21 Doctors and 50 paramedics are providing medical treatment to those injured in Khuzdar and Awaran.

300 troops of Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps personnel were moved Tuesday night for rescue operations in earthquake affected areas and the strength has now risen to more than 1000.

Six Pakistan Army helicopters are also participating in rescue operations. So far 10 sorties have been flown to affected areas of Awaran and Khuzdar.

NDMA Chairman Major General Syed Aleem put the death toll at 273, saying that he was only quoting official figures.

“Rescue operation will continue until the last person is pulled from the rubble of collapsed houses,” he said. “We have not asked for aid from any country.”

On the other hand, Mir Abdul Qadoos Bazenjo, Deputy Speaker of Balochistan Assembly, has claimed the death toll has crossed 1000 mark. He told media persons that he was still receiving reports about more fatalities in remote areas of the worst-hit district. The quake, he said, has caused massive devastation in the province.

The spokesman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Kamran Zia, put the death toll at 259 by early Wednesday evening.

Rescue teams found it hard to reach the remote location quickly, and some officials said the death toll was likely to rise as emergency workers fanned further into the mountains to assess the damage.

Some of the dead have already been laid to rest in their villages, he said.

Tremors were also felt in Quetta, Hub, Khuzdar, Qalat, Sibi, Mastung, Jafferabad, Gawadar, Turbat, Panjgor, Kharan, Jhal Magsi, Noshki and the adjoining areas. However, except Turbat, no loss of life reported in these areas.

Several areas in Sindh including Karachi was also hit by tremors, but its duration being brief, no damage was done.

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