Originally published on September 25, 2013
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit southwest Pakistan today has left more than 300 dead in the remote province of Baluchistan, Reuters reported. Hundreds of mud houses collapsed under the force of the earthquake which was felt across southeast Asia.
Pakistan sent in hundreds of soldiers to help with the aftermath of the natural disaster, and local reports said helicopters were dispatched to deliver aid.
The worst affected area was the district of Awaran where 285 bodies have been recovered so far, according to Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran.
Rescue teams found it hard to reach the remote location quickly, and some officials said the death toll was likely to rise as emergency workers fanned further into the mountains to assess the damage, Reuters reported.
Mohammad Shabir, a journalist, described scenes of grief and chaos in villages, saying survivors were digging rows of graves and picking through the debris.
"As far as the human eye can see, all the houses here have been flattened," he told Reuters from Awaran, adding that rescue teams were distributing supplies.
The earthquake also forced an island to emerge 600 meters off the coast of the southern port city of Gwadar. Experts believe the island is the result of a "mud volcano" resulting from seismic activity below the ocean's floor, according to a report by NBC. Sandy layers underground were broken up, then forced upward from the pressure in a slurry of mud and water, creating an island above the water's surface. The island is believed to be temporary, and will eventually succumb to waves.
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