Death toll rises from Pakistan quake

Mercy Corps is rushing medical aid and emergency supplies to isolated villages affected by yesterday's 6.4-magnitude earthquake in western Pakistan, which killed at least 175 people and destroyed about 1,500 homes in the remote province of Balochistan.

Two Mercy Corps ambulances with doctors and paramedics left this morning from Quetta, each filled with medical supplies, water and dry food rations. We've already established a 10-bed emergency health post near the quake's epicenter.

Our staff on the ground in affected areas report urgent needs for blankets, tents and continuing medical assistance. Your help is essential to speed more medicine and medical staff to treat families recovering from the quake.

The 6.4-magnitude tremor hit Balochistan early on the morning of October 29, triggering landslides that instantly buried hundreds of homes. The initial earthquake has been followed by at least 20 aftershocks - some as large as 6.2-magnitude tremors - causing even more damage.

Treatment of the injured population began almost immediately after the earthquake struck at the Mercy Corps emergency health post Mercy Corps set up in the town of Kawas, situated among mountains in the most affected area. We've established our regional emergency response center in Kawas, while deploying two mobile teams to other affected villages where no assistance has been provided so far.

Temperatures are very low in the region - and even more extreme temperatures are expected as winter approaches - so the primary material needs reported are blankets, warm clothes and sturdy tents.

Mercy Corps will continue and expand emergency assistance while further assessing the population's needs. Additional medical and emergency support staff is on its way to the affected area to strengthen the operation. Your support is critical as we focus our efforts in some of Pakistan's poorest and most isolated areas.