A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday killing hundreds in Balochistan and creating a new island off the Gwadar coastline in its wake, reports Express News.
Tremors were felt as far as the Indian capital New Delhi.
The deputy speaker of Balochistan Assembly stated that at least 150 people had died from the disaster in the province, says Karachi-based Express Tribune.
The quake struck at 4:29pm local time (1129 GMT) around 100 kilometres southwest of the city of Khuzdar in Balochistan province, at a depth of 15 kilometres.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the earthquake at magnitude 7.7, recording its duration as eight seconds.
The areas most affected by the quake were Awaran and Khuzdar, with over 90% of the villages or communities in Awaran were destroyed.
Pakistan Army started an emergency rescue operation immediately.
Director General of ISPR Maj Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted that 300 soldiers were already in the area, with the number expected to rise to 1000 by Wednesday morning. Khuzdar would be used as base for the rescue effort.
On the Gwadar coastline, the quake created a small island about half a mile into the sea near an area called “Jhanda,” according to Express News.
The newly-appearing island is said to have a mountainous terrain rising up to a hundred feet. A large crowd was seen gathering at the site to see the new island.
The area of the epicentre is sparsely populated, but the USGS issued a red alert for the quake, which left aftershocks of up to 5.9 magnitude, according to the meteorological department.
Minor tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, while office workers in the city of Ahmedabad near the border with Pakistan ran out of buildings and into the street.
Mumtaz Baluch, senior local administration official in Awaran district, 350 kilometres southwest of Quetta, told the AFP: “There are reports of houses being collapsed in the district due to earthquake. We have dispatched our teams to the affected area to ascertain the losses.”