A 7.7 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 238 people in southwestern Pakistan, according to reports.
The powerful quake struck on Tuesday afternoon northeast of Awaran at a depth of 20km (13 miles), said the U.S. Geological Survey.
Thousands of people spent the night in the open, as many houses were flattened.
The earthquake occurred in Pakistan’s largest but least populated province of Balochistan.
After the quake, a 100 meter-long island appeared off the coast of Gwadar, said witnesses, and many people gathered to see the new island.
The earthquake was so powerful it could be felt in Karachi and in the Indian capital of Delhi.
Whole villages are reported to have been flattened in the district of Awaran.
A government spokesman put the death toll at 238, with over 340 injured. He warned the death toll could rise.
“We are seriously lacking medical facilities and there is no space to treat injured people in the local hospitals,” said spokesman Jan Buledi.
He said the most seriously injured are being airlifted by helicopter to Karachi.
Though the army has sent over 200 soldiers, medical teams and tents, the mountainous terrain is hampering the rescue operation.
Local government official Abdul Rasheed Baluch said that some 90% of the houses in the district were destroyed.
“Almost all the mud houses have collapsed. We have been busy in rescue efforts for the whole night and fear we will recover more dead bodies from under the rubble during daylight,” he said.
Many casualties are from Labach on the northern outskirts of Awaran town.
An emergency has been declared in Awaran and in Chagai, which was also affected by the quake. Image/bbc.co.uk