By Amjad Gulzar, Executive Director Caritas Pakistan

A strong earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Pakistan at 15.44 hours (10.44 GMT ) today. The tremors were felt in Islamabad, Lahore, Abbottabad, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Kohat, Hangu, Bannu, Dir and many other areas across Pakistan.

According to Pakistan Meteorological Department the latitude of earthquake was 26.65 North and longitude was 61.60 East with its epicenter in Southern Iran near the Pakistan Iran Boarder.

The tremors spreading panic among the people who came out of their houses for safety. The epicenter is said to be in Iran The worst affected areas in Pakistan is Mashki some 580 Km from Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan in the south west of Pakistan. Travel time from Quetta to Mashaki is around 15-16 hours by road.

Till about an hour back 21 deaths had been reported and over 100 injured in the city of about 30000-35000 population. There is a fear of more causalities as around 70% of the houses have been collapsed and undeveloped area with mostly mud houses.

Being a bordering area of Iran and Pakistan and having Frontier Constabulary (FC) check post there, immediate relief work is being carried out by FC. A camp has been set up and the doctors from FC are providing medical assistance. There are also reports of shortage of medicines.

Caritas Pakistan is getting more information and in coordination with Provincial Disaster Managment Authority – Baluchistan.