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Pakistan Earthquake Toll Nears 350

  • VOA News

The death toll continues to rise from Tuesday's strong earthquake in southwestern Pakistan.

Officials now say 348 people were killed in Pakistan's Baluchistan province after thousands of mud homes collapsed during an earthquake in the mountainous Awaran district.

Local officials said Thursday that more than 500 people were injured in the magnitude 7.7 quake.

Members of Pakistan's military have been deployed to help with recovery efforts.

On Wednesday, talking to VOA, Chief of National Disaster Management Authority Maj. Gen. Saeed Aleem said the government is setting up relief camps in several cities to help those affected by the earthquake.

"We update the information as it comes to us from far flung areas. We would like to give you only the authentic information. Do not believe in hearsay. For the injured, the latest figure is 446. We are trying to set up bases to support these people. Quetta and Karachi will be central bases. Moreover, we are building a big hub in Khuzdar," said Aleem.

Rescue workers are trying to move them to hospitals, but their efforts have been hampered by the widespread destruction. A local official said survivors in the area -- which is near the border with Iran -- are in desperate need of tents, medicine and food.

The powerful quake also caused the seabed to rise and create a small island off Pakistan's southern coast.

It was the worst earthquake to hit Pakistan since 2005, when a quake near Kashmir killed at least 73,000 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake's epicenter was about 230 kilometers southwest of Dalbandin in Baluchistan. Reports say the quake was felt as far away as New Delhi.

WATCH: Searching for the Missing in the Pakistan Quake