160 killed in 6.2 magnitude quake in Pakistan (Evening lead)

October 29th, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Oct 29 (IANS) At least 160 people were killed and many more injured while hundreds were left homeless after an earthquake of 6.2 magnitude hit Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan early Wednesday, officials said.”The death toll can cross the figure of 200 as rescue teams have rushed volunteers to some villages where dozens of people are buried under debris of collapsed houses,” Ziarat district deputy administrator Momin Khan Dummar told IANS on telephone.

He said at least 150 bodies were recovered after the early morning quake but “I am afraid that still many people are under debris”.

Massive destruction and closure of roads were creating obstacles in rescue operations, he said.

Met official Abdul Rahman said two tremors had struck Balochistan at around 4.30 a.m., the second one bigger than the first.

“It was in north-northeast of Quetta at a depth of 15 km. The epicenter was about 185 km southeast of the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan,” Rahman told IANS.

According to the meteorological office, 14 aftershocks were felt until Wednesday evening and are likely to last for a week.

The army sent helicopters to the area to assess the damage and was deploying troops for rescue operations, military spokesman Colonel Baseer Haider said.

Emergency supplies and tents were being sent to the affected region, the National Disaster Management Authority said in a statement, adding 25 doctors and 100 paramedical staff were deployed in the Khawas field hospital.

This is the second major earthquake in Pakistan in three years.

In October 2005 more than 80,000 people were killed and about three million rendered homeless in a massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake in North West Frontier Province and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Quetta, located about 1,500 km southwest of Islamabad, is the capital of Balochistan, the country’s biggest province by area and smallest by population, bordering Afghanistan.

The entire Quetta city was rebuilt after the disastrous 7.6-magnitude quake of 1935 that left about 30,000 people dead.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced aid of Rs.300,000 for the relatives of each of the deceased and Rs.100,000 for the wounded.

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