QUETTA, Sept 28: Another earthquake of 7.2 magnitude struck the Awaran district of Balochistan on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 15 people and leaving over 50 injured.
The earthquake compounded the agony of a populace that has yet to come out of the shock of Tuesday’s massive earthquake which caused large-scale destruction and left over 300 people dead.
It was a new tremor and not an aftershock of the Tuesday’s earthquake, an official of the Metrological Department in Islamabad told Dawn.
“It was a new strong earthquake of 7.2 magnitude that originated some 156km southwest of Khuzdar in Awaran district,” he said.
The National Seismic Centre of Pakistan has warned that the region will continue to receive aftershocks.
According to Zahid Rafi, a director at the centre, 16 aftershocks have been recorded since the Tuesday’s earthquake of 7.7 magnitude, but Saturday’s earthquake is an independent one.
The worst affected by Saturday’s earthquake was Nokjo, a large village of Mushkey tehsil in Awaran district, where over hundred casualties were reported and thousands of people were rendered homeless.
The earthquake rattled other areas in Balochistan, including Quetta, Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, Panjgur, Kharan, Lasbela Kech, Gwadar, Sibi, Nasirabad and Jaffarabad. It was also felt in Karachi and some other districts of Sindh.
Official sources have confirmed casualties in Nokjo village. “We have received confirmed reports of 15 deaths in Nokjo,” said Frontier Corps spokesman Khan Wasey. Women and children were among the dead, he added.
A spokesman for the Balochistan government, Jan Buledi, said rescue teams had been sent to affected areas.
Awaran’s Deputy Commissioner Rashid Baloch said the tremor caused large-scale destruction in Nokjo village, housing about 15,000 to 20,000 people. He said a large number of houses had collapsed and communication system was badly damaged, creating hurdles in information gathering.Official sources in Awaran said that on the directives of the chief minister, two medical teams and rescue workers had been sent to Nokjo village.
According to a police officer, Rafiq Lasi, a number of people were trapped under the rubble in Nokjo village. He said villagers had taken out some of them alive from the debris.
Hafeez Baloch, a resident of the area, said most houses in Nokjo village remained intact after Tuesday’s earthquake. But the Saturday’s tremor has destroyed the entire village. “The dilapidated mud houses were not able to resist another tremor,” he added.
He said the immediate need of people in the village were tents, food items and drinking water.
In Quetta, the Balochistan Assembly was in session when the tremor jolted its building. Speaker Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali adjourned the session immediately and lawmakers came out of the building.According to a local journalist, Akbar Sheikh, shocks created panic in the house. “I was covering proceedings of the assembly when we felt a tremor and some lawmakers drew the attention of the speaker to it,” he added.