The death toll in the devastating earthquake that struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province rose to 515 on Friday as more bodies were pulled out of collapsed homes by rescue teams who faced attacks from nationalist militants.
Rescue teams are still to reach several remote areas,including Awaran district near the epicentre of Tuesday’s 7.7-magnitude temblor,because of hostile terrain and lack of roads.
“The death toll in the earthquake now stands at 515,” Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob told reporters in Awaran,which recorded most of the deaths.
Over 700 people have also been injured in the disaster,officials said.
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The quake-hit area was on Friday rocked by an aftershock measuring 5 on the Richter scale. Pakistan’s met office said the epicentre of the aftershock was in Ormara and its depth was around 10 km.
Also on Friday,an army helicopter carrying relief goods to the quake-hit areas was fired at in Mashkay area of Awaran district by suspected militants. The helicopter was not damaged in the attack.
This was the second attack on an army helicopter in the area. On Thursday,two army generals,including the head of the National Disaster Management Authority,had a narrow escape when rockets were fired at their helicopter.
Security personnel accompanying a team of doctors for relief operations were fired at on Wednesday.
Though the army and Frontier Corps have moved 1,000 troops in the worst-hit areas,it is feared that people may still be trapped under the debris of thousands of collapsed mud homes.
The area near the epicentre is a stronghold of Baloch nationalist militants.
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