Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 11:14 am
(This post last updated at 1:00 p.m. ET)
A strong, 7.7-magnitude earthquake in southern Pakistan on Tuesday has killed at least 45 people, according to Reuters. The U.S. Geological Survey says the initial temblor was followed by several aftershocks — one of them a 5.9-magnitude.
The affected area is reportedly about 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's western province of Baluchistan.
Reuters quotes Abdul Rasheed Gogazi, the local deputy commissioner in Awaran district where the epicenter is located, as saying the Pakistan Frontier Corps reports 45 people killed. The PFC is involved in rescue efforts. The news agency says:
"Officials said scores of mud houses were destroyed by aftershocks in the thinly populated mountainous area near the quake epicenter in Baluchistan, a huge barren province of deserts and rugged mountains."
Local television video shows residents in Quetta, about 160 miles north of the epicenter, running from homes and offices in panic, according to The Associated Press. The quake was also felt in Karachi. The AP says:
"One man told Pakistan's Dunya television channel that he was sitting in his office when the building started shaking.
Other residents said people started reciting verses from Islam's holy book, the Quran, when the quake began."
NPR's Richard Harris notes that "when a quake strikes in a remote area, it can take many hours or even days to hear about the extent of damage it causes."
In 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan's northern region of Kashmir, killing 75,000 people. In 2011, a 7.2-magnitude temblor struck roughly the same region of Pakistan hit on Tuesday. There were no casualties directly attributed to that quake. Another in April of this year, also in Baluchistan, killed 35 people.