December 11, 2013
Death toll from earthquake in Pakistan rises to 327
The death toll from a powerful earthquake in southwest Pakistan rose to 327 today after hundreds of mud houses collapsed on residents throughout the remote and thinly populated area, local officials said.
Pakistan's army airlifted hundreds of soldiers to help with the aftermath of the worst earthquake in the South Asian country since 2005, when about 75,000 people were killed in the country's north.
The earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck Baluchistan, a huge earthquake-prone province of deserts and rugged mountains, and was felt across South Asia.
It destroyed houses and cut communications with the worst affected district of Awaran, and was so powerful it caused a small island to emerge from the Arabian Sea, just off the Pakistani coast.
"Two hundred and eighty-five bodies have so far been recovered in the Awaran district," Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, the worst affected town, with a population of about 200,000, told Reuters.
"And 42 bodies were found in the neighboring Kech district. We have started to bury the dead."
The spokesman of the government's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Kamran Zia, put the death toll at 259 by early Wednesday evening.
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.