A deadly 7.7-magnitude earthquake killed at least 328 people and injured more than 440 people in Baluchistan, district of Awaran, south-west of Pakistan, Tuesday, creates a 300 feet long, and 70 feet high island.
Government officials feared that the death toll will rise as many could be trapped inside the rubble.
Baluchistan is the largest but least populated area in Pakistan, roughly the size of Wales. It is believed to have substantial, violent, and unstable oil and gas reserves.
As most of the houses in the entire village were made from mud bricks, they were easily flattened by the quake. Thousands of people spent the night in the open air outside their homes waiting for emergency relief supplies from Quetta, the regional capital.
The earthquake was so powerful that workers in Karachi had to evacuate their offices. The tremor was felt in Delhi, and Dubai, India.
Jan Muhammad Buledi, a Baluchistan government spokesman said more than 300,000 people had been affected in the district of Awaran, Kech, Gwadar, Panjgur, Chaghi, and Khuzdar.
The military fighting a long-running separatist Baloch insurgency since 2004 was in the area when the earthquake happened and was the first to respond. About 200 soldiers, medical teams, and tents were sent to the area.
However, the loss of communication and mountainous terrain is hampering their rescue operation. The seriously injured were airlifted to the Karachi, and neighboring districts because they lack medical facilities to treat them.
Rescue teams are currently working to recover dead bodies.
Earthquake created an island
The island appeared about one kilometer from Baluchistan coastline, near Gwadar port town hours after the earthquake. Some parts are solid rock, but other parts are composed of mud and fine-to coarse-grained sand.
Hundreds of bewildered locals gathered the shore, and many hopped their boats to explore the island and take pictures.
Officials said that a similar island appeared in the same area 60 years ago, but disappeared after some time.
The new island was created by the pressure of the earthquake, seismologist John Armbruster told NBC News, which led to the formation of a “mud volcano.” He said such mud formations are a known occurrence following strong earthquakes of magnitude of seven or eight.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas