Death toll in Pakistan quake keeps rising

2013-09-25 22:20
Pakistani survivors gather around their destroyed houses in the earthquake-devastated district of Awaran. (Banaras Khan, AFP)

Pakistani survivors gather around their destroyed houses in the earthquake-devastated district of Awaran. (Banaras Khan, AFP)

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Dalbadi - Rescuers struggled on Wednesday to help thousands of people injured and left homeless after their houses collapsed in a major earthquake in southwestern Pakistan, while the death toll from the massive temblor there rose to 285.

The earth moved with enough force to create a small island visible off the southern coast when the magnitude 7.7 quake struck in the remote district of Awaran in Pakistan's Baluchistan province Tuesday.

At least 373 people were also injured in the quake, according to a statement from the National Disaster Management Authority, which also gave the latest death toll.

The quake flattened wide swathes of Awaran. Most of the victims were killed when their houses collapsed.

In the hard-hit village of Dalbadi, Noor Ahmad said he was working when the quake struck but swiftly rushed home, only to find his house levelled to the ground and his wife and son dead.

He said he pulled their bodies from the rubble and helped other family members who were injured.

"I'm broken. I have lost my family," he said.

Dalbadi was completely flattened. No one in the village knew exactly how many people the quake had killed there.

Men, women and children were sitting in makeshift shelters. Doctors treated some of the injured, but due to a scarcity of medicine and staff, they were mostly seen comforting the residents.

The remoteness of the area and the lack of infrastructure have hampered the relief efforts.

"We are finding it very difficult to reach the affected remote areas," said a spokesman for the provincial government, Jan Mohammad Bulaidi. "We need more tents, more medicine and more food."

He said people who lost limbs in the quake would need to be sent to hospitals in the major cities of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, and Karachi along the Arabian Sea.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  natural disasters

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