Video: Workers in Karachi flee into street after tremor
TORONTO – At least 39 people are dead and dozens are injured after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan Tuesday, according to officials.
IN PHOTOS: Deadly earthquake strikes Pakistan
The quake struck just before 4:30 p.m. local time, about 70 kilometres northeast of Awaran, at a depth of 15 kilometres, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
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The quake was felt in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, along the Arabian Sea. People in the city’s office buildings rushed into the streets following the tremor.
“I was working on my computer in the office. Suddenly I felt tremors. My table and computer started shaking. I thought I am feeling dizziness but soon realized they were tremors,” said one Karachi resident, Mohammad Taimur.
A second quake, magnitude 5.9, struck the area seven minutes later, according to the USGS.
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The chief spokesman for the country’s National Disaster Management Authority, Mirza Kamran Zia, says most of the casualties occurred when houses collapsed on people inside.
“We all ran out for safety in the open field in front of our house. Many other neighbours were also there. Thank God no one was hurt in our area but the walls of four or five house(s) collapsed,” said Khair Mohammed Baluch, who lives in the town of Awaran, roughly 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the epicentre.
An aftershock of magnitude 4.7 shook the area just after 5 p.m.
Pakistani officials said they are also investigating whether the powerful earthquake created a new island off the southern coast after witnesses reported that a small island has appeared near the port of Gwadar.
Pakistan is prone to earthquakes. A magnitude-7.8 quake, which was centred just across the border in Iran, killed at least 35 people in Pakistan last April.
–with files from The Associated Press
© Shaw Media, 2013