Pakistan: Baluchistan Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 1

Glide No. EQ-2008-000206-PAK

This bulletin is being issued for information only.

Two earthquakes shook various parts of Baluchistan in the early hours of 29 October 2008. So far, four districts have been badly affected with more than 160 casualties reported. The provincial government and military are carrying out assessments and relief work. The overall extent of the damage caused by the earthquake has not been made clear. Currently, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has sent four assessment teams and two mobile health teams to the affected areas with the support of the International Federation. Disaster preparedness stocks for 300 families have been dispatched by the PRCS Baluchistan provincial branch, and the PRCS National Disaster Response Team has been put on high alert. A joint International Federation/PRCS team is travelling to the affected areas on 30 October 2008.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society, with the support of the International Federation, is assessing the situation and a decision on external assistance has not yet been made. The International Federation is arranging a coordination meeting which will be headed by PRCS; further decisions regarding the course of action for the earthquake response will be taken in the meeting..

The Situation

Two powerful earthquakes have claimed more than 160 lives in the province of Baluchistan. The first tremor of magnitude 5.2 on richer scale was felt at 4:40 am (Pakistan standard time) while a second tremor of magnitude 6.4 on richer scale occurred at 5:33 am (Pakistan standard time) on 29 October 2008. So far, reports of destruction have been received from Ziarat, Pashin, Qila Saifullah and Harnai districts. The epicentre of the earthquake was 70 kilometres north-east of the provincial capital Quetta and 25 kilometres east of Ziarat. More casualties are feared while several aftershocks have already been recorded. Several mud slides have also been reported. According to media reports, many areas have been cut off and communication lines have been disrupted.

The government has started relief operations in the affected districts. Army helicopters have also been dispatched to assess the extent of destruction in other areas of the province. The immediate needs identified by the government authorities are shelter, food, blankets and emergency health. The provincial government has declared a state of emergency in the province.

Baluchistan is divided into 27 districts; most of its land is barren. The majority of the rural population lives in scattered hamlets. The weather in the province is very cold during this time of the year.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

PRCS dispatched four rapid assessment teams within hours of the earthquake; three teams (two teams with eight members and one with four members) have been sent to Ziarat while another team consisting of eight members has been sent to Pashin. These teams include Federation-trained national disaster response team members.

According to initial reports from the assessment teams, more than 160 casualties have been recorded in Ziarat, with more than 500 people injured. The number of houses damaged in Ziarat are approximately 2,500, displacing an estimated population of 17,500 (total population of the district is 100,000).

In Pashin, the Baluchistan branch assessment team has reported two deaths with 20 others injured. The number of damaged houses is currently 1,500, displacing an estimated population of 10,500 (total population of the district is 400,000).

The PRCS provincial branch in Quetta has dispatched emergency stocks for 300 families to Ziarat. The stocks include 300 tents, 1,800 blankets (six blankets for each family), 1,200 plastic sheets (four per family) and 300 coal stoves. In addition, PRCS provincial branch has also dispatched two mobile health teams to Ziarat. Each team consists of two doctors, a dispenser, health motivator, lady health visitors and three volunteers.

Map - Pakistan: Earthquake (as of 29 Oct 2008) - Situation Map