A 7.7 Richter-scale earthquake struck the southern region of Pakistan yesterday, killing 327 and wounding hundreds others. The largely rural area surrounding the epicenter is sparsely populated, with potential victims scattered over thousands of square miles, thus Authority in the Asian nation fears the death toll could skyrocket once rescue workers reach the more remote locales.
Over 300,000 individuals have been affected, with thousands left homeless by the disaster, and since no emergency shelters are available people were literally left to sleep out in the open. Clean drinking water and edible food is nearly impossible to come by, and aid workers fear that undernourishment and disease could reach crisis levels if supplies do not arrive to the area soon.
The quake was so powerful it caused a new island to rise off the coast of Pakistan; with its tallest point being 60 feet (18 meters) above sea level, the tiny island is approximately 100 feet (30 meters) wide and 250 feet (76 meters) long. Despite the gases emitting from the new landmass (and the catastrophe which caused its formation), many from a nearby coastal town landed boats on it, to explore and even photograph the new wonder.
The nation has been victimized by severe seismic activity for nearly a decade, with five instances of quakes measuring above 6.4 having occurred; one of these, a 7.6 which struck the northern part of the country in October 2005, killed 73,000 people. The area affected by yesterday's event is already impoverished, with a majority of the buildings and homes being built with mud bricks. Most of these structures have been destroyed due to being incapable of withstanding a large-scale ground-shaker, adding to the already cataclysmic situation.