An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude hit large parts of southwestern Pakistan from Karachi to Awaran (Balochistan) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 at 4: 32 pm. Tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital of New Delhi, hundreds of miles (kilometers) to the east, where buildings shook.
The epicenter was 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin and 23 kilometers below the ground in Awaran District. It was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island off Gwadar in the Arabian Sea.
The worst affected area is Awaran District, where it is estimated that more than 208 people died and 350 suffered injuries. Hundreds of houses were flattened and thousands of people spent the night without any shelter. Awaran has an estimated population of 300,000, scattered over an area of more than 21,000 square kilometers. “Over 50% of urban and around 90% of rural areas of the district have been ravaged by the quake,” reported Jan Buledi, a spokesperson of Balochistan Government.
The local government declared a state of emergency. The Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps started rescue and relief activities for the earthquake affected communities. The situation is worsened due to destruction of roads which has made ground access to these affected areas impossible for time being. Helicopters are being used for the search and rescue operation. A lack of communications networks also hinders efforts to assess the complete damages and losses to life and property.
The region is prone to earthquakes, and in April 2013, at least 35 people died and more than 100 injured during a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck along the Pakistan-Iran Border. In January 2011, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit UAE, Iran, Pakistan, India, and other adjoining countries.
Balochistan Province has been continuously plagued with severe security challenges as well as volatile and active insurgents which has made the provision of assistance extremely challenging.
CWS-P/A quickly initiated contact with local partners in the area and is continuously assessing the situation. The emergency response team is on standby but at this point, with the initial situation assessment, CWS-P/A is not planning a direct response. However, the situation will be closely monitored and shall act accordingly.