6.4 Earthquake Strikes Pakistan
A powerful earthquake has struck southwest Pakistan, killing at least 150 people:
ZIARAT, Pakistan — A strong earthquake struck before dawn Wednesday in impoverished southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 170 people and turning mud and timber homes into rubble.
An estimated 15,000 people were left homeless, and rescuers were digging for survivors in a remote valley in Baluchistan, the remote province bordering Afghanistan where the magnitude 6.4 quake struck.
Officials said they were distributing thousands of tents, blankets and food packages and sending in earth-moving equipment to dig mass graves. Many of those who survived were left with little more than the clothes they had slept in, and with winter approaching, temperatures were expected to drop to around freezing in coming nights.
Worst-hit was the former British hilltop resort of Ziarat and about eight surrounding villages, where hundreds of houses were destroyed, including some buried in landslides triggered by the quake.
“There is great destruction,” said Ziarat Mayor Dilawar Kakar. “Not a single house is intact.”
Baluchistan, the area in which the earthquake took place has been engaged in a low level of insurgency against the central government in Islamabad for years. There was a terrorist incident there just a couple of days ago. The present Pakistani government is holding on by its fingernails and its response to the earthquake will probably be phlegmatic, which is, unfortunately, probably as much as it can manage. That probably won’t further ingratiate them with the Baluchis.
Map courtesy of ReliefWeb