Country escapes major earthquake damage
* Over 200 mud-brick homes damaged in Dalbadin with no casualties reported
* Offices of district administration partially damaged
QUETTA: The country escaped major quake damage on Wednesday after more than 200 mud houses, including offices of district administrators, were damaged in Dalbandin area of Chagai district, some 325-kilometres southwest of Quetta, after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake jolted the entire province and nearby countries.
Talking to journalists, Deputy Commissioner Chagai Saeed Ahmed said that more than 200 mud houses collapsed or were partially damaged in Dalbandin due to the earthquake. The earthquake triggered panic among the 25,000 populace of the city who spent sleepless nights outside of their houses in the cold.
Chagai is the largest district of Balochistan and it has a population of around 300,000 spread over 44,748 square kilometers. The deputy commissioner said that an assessment was underway because the district was very vast and so far there was information of around 200 mud houses being damaged.
He said that the offices of the deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner, Anti-Narcotics Force and Levies Thana Dalbandin were partially damaged, adding that a C-130 carrying relief for victims was canceled due to bad weather.
Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said that more than 250 tents and blankets had been dispatched to Dalbandin. The temperature dropped to below zero in Dalbandin and people were having to stay outside of their houses.
The home secretary confirmed that no causalities had been reported across the province. However, mud houses were damaged and walls collapsed in different parts of the province. A helicopter of the Pakistan Army had been sent in the area to assess the damage. Quetta and most of the areas of Balochistan were shaken by the severe earthquake late on Tuesday night.
“The quake jolted our homes, we rushed out in panic but it caused no damage,” Waheed Murad said from Sibi. “It was very cold. We spent about two hours outside our homes fearing that it may hit again but nothing happened,” Gul Mohammad, a resident from Quetta, said. Meteorological Department chief Arif Mahmood said, “The magnitude of the earthquake was high, its epicentre was close to Kharan but the area is mostly desert and the population is thin.”
“Fortunately, there are no casualties and no serious damage to property,” he added.
Strong tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, around 1,300 kilometres away, as well as several other cities across northwestern India, though there were no reports of any damage. staff report/afp