Hundreds died in a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that hit parts of southwestern Pakistan, in an area from Karachi to Awaran in the province of Balochistan, on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, India, and was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island off Gwadar in the Arabian Sea.
The worst-affected area is the Awaran district, where it is estimated that more than 208 people died and 350 suffered injuries. Hundreds of homes were flattened and thousands of people spent the night without shelter. Awaran has an estimated population of 300,000, scattered over an area of more than 21,000 square kilometers. Authorities said that half of the urban area and nearly all of the rural areas were ravaged by the quake.
Balochistan is Pakistan's largest province but also its least populated. It has been plagued with security challenges given ongoing anti-government insurgencies.
Authorities immediately started rescue and relief activities, but access is difficult due to the destruction of roads. The region is prone to earthquakes, and in April 2013 at least 35 people died and more than 100 were injured during a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck along the Pakistan-Iran Border.
CWS quickly initiated contact with local partners in the area and is continuously assessing the situation. The emergency response team is on standby but at this point, with the initial situation assessment, CWS is not planning a direct response. However, the situation will be closely monitored and CWS will act accordingly.
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Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Donations to our emergency response efforts around the globe may also be made online.
Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.