6.8 earthquake hits shattered Pakistan region

2013-09-28 14:57

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Awaran – A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwest Pakistan today, in a region already devastated by a tremor that left more than 300 people dead and 100 000 homeless less than a week ago.

The new quake struck the remote district of Awaran, at a depth of 14 kilometres at 12.34pm (9.34 SA time) according to the US Geological Survey.

“It was not an aftershock, it was an independent earthquake,” Zahid Rafi, director of the National Seismic Centre of Pakistan, told Geo TV.

Awaran, the poorest district in the southwest province of Baluchistan, was shattered by a 7.7-magnitude quake on Tuesday, which left 359 dead and more than 100 000 people homeless.

Relief efforts there have been thwarted by insurgent attacks on rescue convoys, with local officials admitting that teams have been unable to reach thousands of survivors in the worst-hit areas.

An AFP reporter in Awaran said Saturday that hundreds of patients being treated in the aftermath of the previous quake fled a hospital in panic as the new tremor hit.

Pakistan’s chief meteorologist Arif Mehmood told Express News that the magnitude of Saturday’s quake measured 7.2.

Deputy Commissioner of Awaran, Abdul Rasheed Baloch, told Geo TV that the quake destroyed hundreds of mud houses in the Mashkey area, saying that “a lot of people have been trapped under the rubble”.

“The telephone system has been damaged and we are not able to talk to someone and find out the exact information about the losses ... But we have reports of severe losses in that area,” Baloch said.

Rescue efforts in Mashkey, where the epicentre of the first quake was located, had already been complicated by insurgent groups in the area who have launched attacks on relief convoys, with local officials saying some 30 000 survivors are still waiting for aid.

The area is a stronghold of Baluch separatist rebels waging a decade-long insurgency against the Pakistani state.

The situation has forced officials to abandon efforts to reach survivors directly, saying instead they will work through village committees and private NGOs.

Abdul Malik, provincial chief minister of Baluchistan, told AFP that food and other rescue items would be distributed through local villagers.

He appealed to the local separatist groups to allow rescue officials to reach the survivors.

“It is a humanitarian tragedy and I appeal to them to allow rescue workers to help the survivors,” Malik told AFP late Friday.

Manan Baloch, a leader of the Baluchistan National Movement, allied to the Baluchistan Liberation Front, told AFP that his group will only allow private NGOs and local officials to help survivors.

“We will not allow army or FC (paramilitary Frontier Corps) here, only NGOs or local officials are allowed to come here,” he said.

A Pakistan army officer in Awaran told AFP the military only wanted to help locals.

“They are not ready to accept us,” he said on condition of anonymity.

An AFP reporter in Awaran today said aid workers, along with trucks loaded with food, clothes and medicine were seen moving towards Mashkey.

On Thursday, a helicopter carrying the head of the Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority came under rocket fire by insurgents while flying in Awaran district. No one was hurt and no damage was done.

Insurgents yesterday opened fire on another helicopter and, in two separate incidents, fired on rescue convoys, officials said, adding that no one was hurt in the attacks.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.