A series of earthquakes struck Balochistan
today on 29th October 2008. First earthquake of 5.2 magnitude jolted Balochistan
early morning at around 0433 hrs. Then the second and bigger tremor hit
the areas with the magnitude of 6.4 at around 0510 hrs. Subsequently, aftershocks
were felt at 0554 hrs and 0632 hrs of the magnitude of 4.0 and 4.6 respectively.
After 11 hours, again a strong earthquake of 6.2 magnitude jolted the area
at around 1732 hrs.
Information Source: U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program
The epicenters of the earthquakes were about 400 miles southwest of Islamabad. According to the media, more than 150 dead bodies had been recovered so far while hundreds are injured and 15,000 people become homeless. District Ziarat and Pishin are the most affected districts while Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Loralai, Sibbi and Mastung are also affected by the earthquakes. Hundreds of houses collapsed and electricity and telecommunication system also failed in district Ziarat.
The second most affected area is Tehsil Khanozai of district Pishin where more than 500 households are affected. In the Tehsil, two villages Khushab and Negandeh are badly affected where more than 100 houses collapsed. The road from Khanozai to Loralia is blocked due to land slide.
The death toll in the area could rise as more information is coming in.
According to the health authorities of adjacent districts i.e. Killa Saifullah, Zhob and Harnai, there is no serious injury or death reported in their districts.
Pakistan Army immediately started the relief activities through helicopters. Rural Health Center Khawas in district Ziarat is providing emergency services and working as referral hospital for the earthquake victims. The RHC is situated at about 20 km form the district headquarter hospital. Provincial Health Department, Balochistan has sent medical teams with ambulances and medicines to the affected areas.
In RHC Khanozai, district Pishin, 30 casualties were reported out of which 8 people were dead and 12 were severely injured and referred to Bolan Medical Complex Hospital in Quetta. One part of the RHC Khanozai building is fully damaged while one part is partially damaged with cracks in walls.
As an initial response, WHO has dispatched 1 New Emergency Health Kit (enough for 10,000 population for 3 months) and 5 Mini Emergency Health Kits (each kit is enough for 2,000 population for 3 months) from Islamabad which will arrive in Quetta on Friday, 31st October 2008. WHO is also airlifting 2 Trauma Kits (Part A & B) directly from Dubai to Quetta tomorrow on 30th October 2008. WHO is also setting up Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) in the earthquake affected districts.
A coordination meeting was held in Quetta chaired by Dr. Rukuiya Hashmi, Provincial Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Department. The meeting was attended by the representatives of WHO, UNICEF, FAO, UNFPA, UNHCR and WFP. In the meeting, the response mechanism was discussed and 2 teams were constituted and sent to both the worst affected districts for rapid assessment.
Another meeting was held in PDMA Office, Quetta chaired by Mr. B. Rahim Mengal, Minister PDMA & Tourism Balochistan. According to PDMA, they have dispatched 1000 tents, 1500 blankets and some food items with water to district Ziarat.
An emergency health cluster meeting has been called on 30th October 2008 at 1000 hrs at WHO Office, Islamabad for information sharing and coordination of response activities.