Sep 27 2013, 3:23am CDT | by IANS
Islamabad, Sep 27 — For Abdul Qadir, 53, life hit a dead-end after he pulled out the bodies of his family members from the rubble of his single-storeyed brick house that collapsed in the devastating earthquake that jolted Pakistan earlier this week.
Talking to Xinhua Thursday, Abdul Qadir, who lives in Balochistan province's worst hit Awaran district, said he rushed home when the temblor struck, only to find that his entire family was trapped under the crumbled brick house.
"I shouted the names of my wife and kids hysterically, but all I heard was my own echo," Qadir said.
He pulled out the bodies of his two children, mother and sister from the rubble. He found his wife, father and three kids alive but injured. His wife and son died later as there were no immediate medical facilities in the area.
"There was no rescue team to help me. With the help of my neighbours, I dug the rubble and every time I found members of my family who were still alive, I carried them on my back to the village's health centre but there they did not have enough medicines and facilities," said Qadir.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain have ordered massive relief and rescue operation in the affected areas.
The provincial government of Baliochistan immediately began a massive rescue and recovery work in the affected areas soon after the earthquake hit. Later, the army, navy, paramilitary troops and non-government organisations (NGOs) joined in.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials Thursday said that the army, Frontier Corps and the civil administration have already set up 7,000 temporary shelters and distributed some 7,000 food packs of 53 kg each to the victims in Awaran and Kech districts, while 50 tonnes of high energy biscuits are en-route.
The NDMA has also distributed 5,000 blankets, while 1,600 tonnes of water is now being flown to the affected areas.
Pakistan Army had provided 200 tents, 1,212 food packs, 300 mosquito nets and 3,900 water bottles to the victims, the authority told Xinhua.
Inter Services Public Relations, the mouthpiece of the Pakistan Army, said that the army has sent 1,600 troops to the worst hit areas of Khuzdar and Awaran, and transported 174 victims to hospitals for treatment.
Awaran Deputy Commissioner Abdul Rasheed Gogazai said the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Balochistan at 4:29 p.m. Tuesday, affected over 300,000 people and destroyed at least 20,000 houses.
Awaran was the worst hit area where 95 percent of the houses fell.
In a telephone interview with Xinhua Thursday, Saif-ur-Rehman, an official with Balochistan's Disaster Management Authority, said that the earthquake killed 355 people and left 619 injured.
He said a total of 311 deaths were reported from the Awaran district alone.
At least 440 people were taken to various hospitals in the area. Forty-four people were killed and 179 others injured in Kech district, he added.
The earthquake devastated a large swathe of Pakistan's remote areas which could not be reached by rescue teams because of dilapidated roads. Some of the victims said all the houses in their areas were flattened.
Local media reports said that the earthquake knocked down a seminary in Awaran district, killing over 30 students there.
The temblor had its epicentre in the Awaran district, located some 645 km from Balochistan capital city of Quetta.
Pakistan's chief meteorologist Ghulam Rasool said Pakistan lies in one of the world's most earthquake-prone zones on Eurasian and Arabian plates, and the latest earthquake happened at the junction of the two plates.
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