By Saeed Ali Achakzai
WAM, Pakistan (Reuters) – About 175 people were killed when a powerful earthquake hit the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan on Wednesday, flattening about 1,500 mud-walled homes and triggering landslides, officials said.
The epicenter of Wednesdayâ€™s quake was in Ziarat district, a scenic valley and one of the main tourist spots in Baluchistan.
Chief district administrator Dilawar Khan said 170 people had been killed in that district and 350 injured.
â€œThe rescue operation is over. Weâ€™ve retrieved all bodies and the injured. Now the problem is relief as thereâ€™s a shortage of tents, blankets and food while the weather is getting cold,â€ Khan told Reuters.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.4 magnitude quake struck 60 km (40 miles) northeast of the provincial capital, Quetta.
Pakistanâ€™s Meteorological Department put the magnitude at 6.5 and said the quake, at the shallow depth of about 10 km (six miles), struck at 5.10 a.m. (2310 GMT on Tuesday).
About 20 aftershocks, the biggest of 6.2 magnitude, caused more damage and rattled the nerves of survivors as they scoured the rubble for loved ones.