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Death toll rises in Pakistan earthquake

The death toll in the Pakistan earthquake has risen to well over 300. Rescue efforts are underway in the mountainous area of Baluchistan where the powerful earthquake hit, toppling homes.

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Pakistan quake toll rises

The number of people killed in a powerful earthquake in Pakistan's Baluchistan province has risen to 327, according to officials. Rescue operations continued on Wednesday.

"We have been busy in rescue efforts for the whole night and fear we will recover more dead bodies from under the rubble during the daylight," a local administration official told the news agency AFP. "Around 90 percent of houses in the district have been destroyed. Almost all the mud houses have collapsed."

The official said that some of the dead had already been laid to rest in their villages. The death toll was expected to rise.

The earthquake struck at 4.29 p.m. local time (1129 UTC) on Tuesday, sending people rushing from their homes to open land. Most of the dead were killed when their homes collapsed, according to the country's National Disaster Management Authority. People in Karachi also evacuated buildings (pictured above).

Shallow epicenter

Both Pakistan's Meteorological Department and the US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake, centered on the Awaran district of Baluchistan province and at a depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles), at a magnitude of 7.7.

Pakistan's military on Tuesday said it was sending troops and helicopters to both Awaran and the nearby area of Khuzdar. Local officials, meanwhile, said they were sending doctors, food and tents for those left homeless by the quake

Officials were investigating whether the earthquake was so powerful that it formed a new land mass. Witnesses reported seeing a small island appear off the coast of the port of Gwadar after the quake.

rc/ipj (AFP, Reuters)

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