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Quake kills 208 in Pakistan, creates new island in sea

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 | 12:20 AM ET
Pedestrians and office workers leave an office building in Karachi after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday.
Rizwan Tabassum | AFP | Getty Images
Pedestrians and office workers leave an office building in Karachi after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday.

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in southwestern Pakistan rose to at least 208 people on Wednesday after hundreds of houses collapsed in a remote mountainous area, a local official said.

"We have started to bury the dead," said Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, the most affected district in Baluchistan province. He said at least 373 people were wounded.

A major earthquake hit a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday, with tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital of New Delhi, hundreds of miles (kilometers) to the east, where buildings shook, as well as the sprawling port city of Karachi in Pakistan.

The United States Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude quake struck 145 miles (235 km) southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's quake-prone province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.

(Read more: Pakistan bears brunt of Iran earthquake, 13 killed)

The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

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Television channels showed images of a stretch of rocky terrain rising above the sea level, with a crowd of bewildered people gathering on the shore to witness the rare phenomenon.

Officials said scores of mud houses were destroyed by aftershocks in the thinly populated mountainous area near the quake epicenter in Baluchistan, a huge barren province of deserts and rugged mountains.

Abdul Qadoos, deputy speaker of the Baluchistan assembly, told Reuters that at least 30 percent of houses in the impoverished Awaran district had caved in.

The local deputy commissioner in Awaran, Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, and the spokesman of Pakistan's Frontier Corps involved in the rescue effort said at least 45 people had been killed.

(Read more: Quake jolts southern Japan, felt in Tokyo)

In the regional capital of Quetta, officials said some areas appeared to be badly damaged but it was hard to assess the impact quickly because the locations were so remote.

Chief secretary Babar Yaqoob said earlier that 25 people had been injured and that the death toll was expected to increase as many people appeared to be trapped inside their collapsed homes.

Local television reported that helicopters carrying relief supplies had been dispatched to the affected area. The army said it had deployed 200 troops to help deal with the disaster.


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