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Central & South Asia

Pakistan reels from deadly quake

At least 15 dead as 6.8-magnitude earthquake strikes region of Awaran in the southwest province of Balochistan.

Last Modified: 29 Sep 2013 02:54
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At least 15 people died after a second powerful earthquake struck Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, where hundreds of people have already been killed and thousands more affected by an earlier tremor.

Saturday's 6.8-magnitude earthquake destroyed most of the town of Nokjo, which is home to at least 15,000 people, when it struck  about 96km northeast of the city of Awaran. 

Officials said that the death toll was expected to rise.

The quake occurred at a depth of 14.8km, which was similar to Tuesday's 7.7 magnitude earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The epicentres of the two tremors were about 30km apart, USGS data shows.

"It was not an aftershock it was an independent earthquake," Zahid Rafi, director of the National Seismic Centre of Pakistan, told local news television station Geo TV.

Hundreds treated 

Relatives have begun to bury victims of the first earthquake in Awaran, Balochistan province [EPA]

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Awaran, said several districts had been affected.

Baluchistan government spokesman Jan Mohammad Buledi said those killed on Saturday died in the Mushkay area of Awaran.

Mohammad Farooq, a rescue worker from the Edhi Foundation, said his aid organisation had transferred 64 injured from Awaran district to hospital.

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

More than 500 people were killed, and another 765 injured, when Tuesday's earthquake struck the impoverished southwestern region of Pakistan.

The government said that more than 185,000 people had been affected by the tremor.

The population of Awaran district is scattered over more than 21,000 square kilometres of remote and rugged terrain, where infrastructure is limited, with few medical facilities or even roads.

The Pakistani Air Force has been making air drops of supplies and using helicopters to ferry injured people to medical care.

'Poor response'

Conditions were desperate among the survivors and many are going without food, water and shelter, having lost everything in the quake, Hyder reported.

"We have seen a very poor response ... it has been days and the proper assessments have not been done, the rescue relief efforts have not reached those faraway locations. Some [supplies are] arriving here in Awaran, but the distribution is very slow," he said on Saturday. 

The government says that it has delivered more than 11,800 tents to survivors, and that several medical teams are now operating in the area. Other items to be distributed included blankets, food packets, water, mosquito nets and other essentials.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by the remoteness of the area, and by attacks allegedly carried out by separatist Baloch rebels against army convoys carrying the aid.

While Saturday's earthquake was recorded as a fresh event, there have been 16 aftershocks in the region of Awaran since the first major earthquake on Tuesday, USGS data showed.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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