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Pakistani Military Evacuates Earthquake Victims

  • VOA News

Pakistani earthquake survivor carries a goat among the rubble of collapsed mud houses in the Mashkail area of southwestern Baluchistan province on April 17, 2013.

Pakistani earthquake survivor carries a goat among the rubble of collapsed mud houses in the Mashkail area of southwestern Baluchistan province on April 17, 2013.

The Pakistani military has evacuated 16 people badly injured by Tuesday's powerful earthquake near the Iranian border, as relief operations in the region continue.

Helicopters transported the injured Wednesday from Mashkal in Baluchistan province to the regional capital of Quetta for treatment.

The military says hundreds of soldiers are helping in the overall relief effort, after the magnitude 7.8 quake collapsed homes and killed 34 people.

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The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter for Tuesday afternoon's earthquake was near the Iranian cities of Khash and Saravan in Sistan and Baluchistan province. The region has experienced several quakes since then, including a magnitude 5.7 early Wednesday.

Iranian state media said one person was killed by falling rocks after the initial earthquake. Provincial Governor Hatam Narouyi said Tuesday the epicenter was in a sparsely-populated area.

The quake also shook the cities hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter, including the Pakistani city of Karachi.

A British woman working in Karachi said the Pakistani commercial capital was not badly affected.

"We were in a room and I was talking to somebody and he suddenly said what is that? And then I realized his chair was shaking, and then everybody started leaving the building, we all went outside," she recalled. "The cars were all shaking, it must have lasted, oh I think about a minute, until the cars stopped shaking. And we stood out and waited because obviously there was some concern that there might be a bigger earthquake afterwards. But as far as I could see there was no damage here, everybody is quite used to these kind of drills, and everyone evacuated safely, waited for a couple of minutes then we all went back inside."

The quake was felt as far away as the Indian capital, New Delhi, and several Gulf cities like Dubai, where some office workers briefly evacuated buildings as a precaution.

Geophysicist John Bellini at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado said the widespread shaking was typical for such an event.

"Because it is a large earthquake, the vibrations that are produced will spread out large enough for people to feel over a wider area," Bellini said. "Earthquake waves spread around the world for just about any earthquake, but when it is a much larger earthquake it takes a lot longer time for them to calm down, even at farther distances from the epicenter."

Bellini said the quake happened 82 kilometers underground, a relatively deep level that usually means damage is confined to the epicenter rather than being spread out.

Iran is prone to frequent earthquakes as it sits on several major fault lines. Last Tuesday (April 9), a quake with a magnitude of around 6.0 hit southwestern Iran near the city of Bushehr, killing at least 37 people.

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