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7.5 magnitude earthquake kills 34 in Balochistan

17 April, 2013

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QUETTA: A powerful earthquake in Iran on Tuesday damaged more than 1,000 mud homes in Pakistan, killing six people and wounding dozens in a remote community close to the desert border, state TV said.

PTV said the houses were damaged in Mashkail in Washuk district, where six people were killed and 47 wounded were taken to a rural health centre in the area, around three kilometres from the Iranian border. There were cracks in government buildings in the area and PTV said President Asif Ali Zardari had expressed grief over the losses in Iran and Pakistan. Local hospital official Ashraf Baloch told AFP by telephone from Mashkail earlier that five people were dead, mostly as a result of homes caving in.

Iran's Seismological Centre said that the 7.5-magnitude quake struck at 3:14 pm (1044 GMT) in the country's southeast, close to the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The website of the US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8. Mehdi Zare, an official at the Seismological Centre, told state television that the earthquake was unprecedented in 56 years.

In December 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake killed 31,000 people in Iran's southern city of Bam and destroyed its ancient, mud-built citadel. Tuesday's earthquake was felt across large parts of Pakistan, including Islamabad, where buildings shook, and Karachi where tremors prompted many to flee buildings in terror. There were no reports of significant damage to infrastructure. Pakistani meteorologist Muhammad Riaz said the epicentre of the earthquake was in southern Iran at a magnitude of 7.9.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Justice (r) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Tuesday expressed profound grief and sorrow over the deaths in a major earthquake in various parts of Balochistan. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Iran near its border with Pakistan also caused casualties in parts of Balochistan.

In a message, the president directed the provincial government and the authorities concerned to provide all possible assistance to the affected people. Meanwhile, PM Khoso was saddened by the destruction caused in Iran and expressed his heartfelt sympathies. He also issued instructions to the Balochistan government to assist those affected by the calamity.

End.

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