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7.3 magnitude quake jolts Pakistan, Delhi rocked

Wednesday January 19, 2011 02:27:31 PM, IANS

Islamabad/New Delhi: Panic-stricken people rushed out of their homes - some of them reciting verses from the Quran - as a 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook Pakistan early Wednesday. Two women died and three people were hospitalised after suffering heart attack.

The quake struck at 1.23 a.m., jolting people from their sleep.

The epicentre of the high intensity quake was around 50 km west of Dalbandin, a town in the sparsely populated Baluchistan province, the meteorological department said.

In October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck in northern Pakistan, killing more than 70,000 people.

Geo News reported Wednesday that 35-year-old Haleema Bibi of Jacobabad and Razia Bibi of Quetta died due to heart failure. In Multan, three people were hospitalised after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Around a dozen people were injured as their mud houses collapsed.

As soon as the earth began to shake, people scurried out of their homes. Television footage showed terrified people reciting verses from the Quran.

Rescue services said they were on alert after the quake in the sparsely populated area.

DPA reported that in Karachi, about 600 km to the south-east, thousands fled their homes as they felt the earthquake, spending the night out in the open in fear of aftershocks.

"I was drinking tea when the whole house started to shake," Mohammad Ramdan, a construction worker in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, was quoted as saying.

"My God, it was so terrifying. I took my two children and wife and left the house."

Pakistan's chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz said there were very few losses despite the magnitude because the epicentre of the quake was quite deep and located in a thinly populated region.

The tremors of Pakistan were also felt in neighbouring India.

The tremors were felt in Delhi, Jaipur, Barmer, Ganganagar and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and parts of Haryana.

No casualties or damage have been reported in India.

Residents in New Delhi rushed out of their houses after feeling the tremors.

"We were sleeping when suddenly we heard the sounds of furniture rattling against each other. We immediately rushed out," said Archana Kaul, a resident of Sarojini Nagar area of Delhi.

The fear was greater in the densely populated areas.

"The tremors were strong as they shook us out of sleep. But we remained inside as we could not have reached an open space even if we had rushed out," Shanti Luthra, a resident of Lakshmi Nagar, an area with high density of population and closely built structures, told IANS.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the earthquake occurred at a depth of 74 km from ground level. An IMD official said the area is located at the boundary of Indian and Eurasian plates, and their movement caused the quake.

"Its a plate boundary region and plate activities were the reason behind the quake," the IMD official told IANS.







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