At least 55 killed in Pakistan earthquake (Third lead)

October 29th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Oct 29 (DPA) A powerful earthquake rattled Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province Wednesday morning, killing at least 55 people and injuring scores of others, officials said. However, media reports put the number of dead at 80. The US Geological Survey on its website said a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck 60 km northeast of Quetta, the provincial capital at 5.10 a.m.

Dilawar Khan, a local mayor in the worst affected Ziarat district, said he had information of 50 deaths and more than 100 people being injured. Most of the dead are women and children.

Five people died in Pishin and Khoshab areas.

The DawnNews television channel reported at least 80 people were killed and 60 others injured in the quake, which led to some 500 houses collapsing.

Though provincial head of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Asif Nawaz confirmed 30 deaths, he feared that the death toll may rise as many people are believed to be trapped under demolished houses. FC troops have been dispatched to the areas for relief work, he added.

The earthquake triggered mudslides in several parts of Balochistan, which is Pakistan’s largest but most sparsely populated province.

A massive earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale shook Kashmir and Pakistan’s mountain region Oct 8, 2005, killing at least 73,000 people.

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