Quake rocks southwest Pakistan

No immediate reports of fatalities after magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes remote area of Baluchistan province.

    Initial reports suggest that there were no fatalities after the earthquake [EPA] 

    A magnitude 7.2 earthquake has struck a remote area of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, the US Geological Survey said.

    Several people were injured in Dalbandin when the roofs of their houses collapsed, Amanullah Notizai, the provincial transport minister, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

    Television footage showed panicked people rushing out of their homes and into the streets in very cold conditions.

    "This is an area that is very sparsely populated," Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Lahore, said.

    "Most people are out on the streets because they fear there will be damage to property."

    Aftershocks feared

    The epicentre of the quake was about 55km northwest of the town of Kharan.

    "The earthquake occurred at around 1:23am [20:23 GMT] and it was felt in Baluchistan, Sindh and southern Punjab provinces," Mohammad Riaz, Pakistan's chief meteorologist, said.

    "There could be aftershocks during the next week - there are active fault lines in Baluchistan."

    Masooma Rizvi, a housewife in the city of Karachi, told Reuters: "I was sleeping when the quake struck and I felt like my bed was shaking. I got up and ran to check the children ... and thankfully they were all okay.

    "It was very scary. I have never felt anything like this before."

    Strong temblors were felt as far away as New Delhi, the Indian capital, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

    People in India's border province of Rajasthan said cracks appeared in the walls of some rural homes.

    A major quake of this magnitude is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage.

    On October 8, 2005, a 7.6 magnitude quake 95km northeast of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, killed more than 70,000 people. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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