Situation Update: Another Devastating Earthquake Hits Awaran, Balochistan

Situation Update: Another Devastating Earthquake Hits Awaran, Balochistan

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Background:

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 hit Balochistan on September 28, 2013, at 12:34 pm at a depth of 14 kilometers. Official figures state that 22 people died and 50 people sustained injures. Many others were buried under rubble in the region already devastated by an earthquake of magnitude 7.7 which left more than 500 people dead last week. The geological departments have different stances regarding the earthquake; some say it was an aftershock of the earthquake which struck the province on Tuesday, September 24, while the rest termed it as a new earthquake. Officials fear the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake in Awaran could rise.

An online newspaper source confirmed over the last seven years since Pakistan’s massive earthquake in 2005, the southwestern province had been jolted by five earthquakes of varying intensities. The latest being Saturday’s earthquake in Awaran. Four of the earthquakes had their epicenter located in the province, according to Pakistan Metrological Department’s National Seismic Monitoring Centre.

The region has suffered massive loss of infrastructure including communication and road links. It is also a stronghold of the Baloch separatist movement which has waged a decade-long insurgency against the state. Media sources reported that relief efforts continue to be disrupted by insurgents. In latest news, four Frontier Constabulary (FC) men carrying food ration for affected families were killed. The difficult situation has forced officials to abandon efforts to reach survivors directly and work through village committees and non-governmental organizations. At present, three battalions of the Pakistan Army are working in the earthquake zone where FC began relief work.

The local government appealed to all Baloch separatist groups to stop attacks in the earthquake affected regions. The appeal was made after the firing at a convoy of FC and rocket attacks at the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) helicopter in which Major General Alam Saeed, Chairman NDMA, was travelling to the earthquake affected area of Awaran. “People will die of hunger, if the attacks continued,” said Jan Muhammad Buledi, the Spokesman for Balochistan’s government. The insecurity is constraining the government’s relief efforts; further emphasis was made that women and children in the affected areas are in desperate need of help.

CWS-P/A Response:

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.

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