Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quake fear claims two lives

Quake fear claims two lives QUETTA: Massive earthquake that hit Wednesday claimed two lives as women died due to heart attack while three others admitted to the hospital in critical condition, Geo News reported.

A powerful earthquake rocked southwest Pakistan on Wednesday, sending panicked people rushing from their homes in fear of their lives and being felt as far away as India and the Gulf.

The 7.2 magnitude quake struck at 1:23 am (2023 GMT Tuesday), around 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the town of Dalbandin, close to the border with Afghanistan, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

A 35 year old women Haleema Bibi of Jacobbabad and Razia Bibi of Quetta died due to heart failure

In Multan, three people were shifted to the hospital after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Television footage showed terrified people fleeing their houses in cold conditions, reciting verses from the Holy Quran.

Rescue services said that they were on alert after the quake in the sparsely populated area but had received no emergency calls and there were no initial reports of casualties.

Strong tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital New Delhi, around 1,300 kilometres (850 miles) away, as well as several other cities across northwestern India, though there were no reports of any damage.

Data on the USGS website suggested the quake had also been felt across in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The USGS said the quake had a magnitude of 7.2 and hit at a depth of 84 kilometres, revising down an earlier report of 7.4-magnitude.

The initial bulletin from USGS said the earthquake hit just 10 kilometres below the surface. At that depth, quakes can cause major destruction and loss of life.

Pakistan's Meteorological Department gave a magnitude of 7.3 and located the epicentre 55 kilometres northwest of Kharan, a town in the thinly populated southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

"The earthquake occurred at around 1:23 am and it was felt in Baluchistan, Sindh and southern Punjab provinces," chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz told AFP.

"There could be aftershocks during the next week -- there are active fault lines in Baluchistan."

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no chance of the inland quake causing a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Northern Pakistan was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake on October 8, 2005 that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The country is still battling back from the devastating effects of floods last year.

Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept north to south in July and August affected 21 million people, consumed entire villages, wiped out agricultural land and destroyed industries.

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