Rescue operation on as Army reaches quake affected areas

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Islamabad, Oct 29 (UNI) Rescue operations have started on war footing level as the Army has reached the affected areas of southwestern Balochistan province in Pakistan after a powerful earthquake claimed the lives of at least 160 people.

''In the aftermath of the Earthquake that jolted the areas around Ziarat and Pishin today, Army and Frontier Corps Troops have reached the affected areas and started rescue and relief operations,'' the statement issued by Army here this evening said.

The rescue teams comprising Army and Frontier Corps Troops, Army Aviation Helicopters and Mobile Teams from Army Medical Corps, Special C-130 Sorties are being operated by Pakistan Air Force from Rawalpindi and Karachi for transportation of relief goods. Army Aviation Helicopters have already started delivery of relief goods in the affected areas, the statement stated.

Chief of National Disaster Management Authority Farooq Ahmad has, meanwhile, put the death toll at 115 and those wounded at 296.

But local officials said the number of wounded people is 400 and those killed in the quake are numbered at 170.

Two tented villages are being set up in the quake-hit area where a massive aftershock measuring 6.4 at the Richter Scale in the afternoon triggered a great deal of panic with people rushing out of their houses.

The quake brought havoc in more than eight small cities of the province where the government has declared an emergency.

Pishin, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Loralai, Sibbi, Mastung were among the badly hit areas. Several houses and buildings have been collapsed.

According to geological survey of Pakistan, the epicentre of the quake was in Chiltan mountains. Ziarat is the worst hit area where ten people were killed after land sliding whereas four people lost their lives in Khanozai.

Death toll in different parts of Balochistan has reached to 160.

Ten bodies had recovered from the rubbles and shifted to hospital in Ziarat, a local government official said.

Deputy director of geological survey of Pakistan Asif Rana said more aftershocks are expected in these areas within next 48 hours.

This is the second earthquake in Pakistan since 2005 when a 7.6-magnitude earthqauke in parts of northwestern Frontier Province and Kashmir killed 73,000 people and rendered more than 3.5 million homeless.

Seismological experts say the shallow nature of the quake caused devastation in Balochistan as it was just 10 km deep.

UNI XC AE LS BST2111

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