ISLAMABAD, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan army started rescue operation in the country's southwest Balochistan province that was hit by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday afternoon, the military said.
The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the mouthpiece of Pakistan army, said that they had dispatched a rescue team constituting of 200 soldiers to the worst-hit area of Awaran for helping local rescue teams of district administration to pull stranded people from the debris of the houses collapsed in the earthquake. "Helicopters carrying medical staff, medicine, tents and food have left for the quake-hit area for providing relief to the people", said the report.
The ISPR said that the troops would examine the situation and more teams would be sent if needed,
A team of local paramilitary troops, Frontier Constabulary, also arrived at the affected areas of Turbat and Lasbela for rescue operation.
Earlier civil rescue teams from provincial government were dispatched to the calamity-site on directives of Chief Minister of Balochistan, but the district administration officials called in the army to speed up the rescue operation.
Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Malik Baloch has ordered deputy commissioners of all affected districts to remain on high alert in the aftermath of deadly quake.
Spokesman for the government of Balochistan, Jan Buledi, said that a rescue operation is being done speedily in the area.
President Mamnoon Hussain expressed sorrow over the natural disaster and directed the provincial government to provide best possible facilities to the affected people.
The country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed grief over the calamity, saying that the whole nation is with the people of Balochistan in this hour of need.
The powerful earthquake of 7.7 magnitude hit parts the country' s southwest Balochistan, east Punjab and south Sindh provinces at 4:29 p.m. local time.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located 120 kilometers southwest of Awaran district in central Balochistan.
The tremors that kept on shaking the area for about 20 to 40 seconds razed many houses to ground, killing at least 35 people and injuring dozens of others in Balochistan that was worst hit by the quake.