QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Thousands of people are homeless and desperate for aid in southwestern Pakistan following a deadly earthquake centered in neighboring Iran that toppled scores of homes and killed at least 36 people, officials said Wednesday. The Pakistani army has deployed several hundred soldiers to help the relief effort in Mashkel, the area of Baluchistan province hit hardest by Tuesday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. But many residents in Mashkel said they were unhappy with the government’s response.
“I appeal to the government. I appeal to the international community to help us with food, medicine, tents and blankets,” Syed Mureed Shah, one of the top officials in surrounding Washak district, told The Associated Press by telephone.
At least 35 people were killed and 150 injured in Pakistan, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. Iran’s main state TV channel said Wednesday that only one person was killed in Iran – a woman who was struck by falling rocks while she was collecting herbs – and that 12 people were injured.
Iran’s state-run Press TV initially reported a much higher death toll in Iran, saying 40 people had been killed, but later backed away from that figure. The discrepancies and apparent backtracking in the reports could not be immediately reconciled because the affected areas are remote and difficult to reach.
An estimated 700 houses were reported damaged in Mashkel in Pakistan, and more remote areas were being assessed, the disaster management agency said.
But Shah, the Washuk district official, said the damage was more widespread. He said more than 3,000 homes were destroyed in the district, leaving about 19,000 people without shelter. He complained that he has only received about 60 tents from the provincial government.
Thousands of Pakistanis homeless after quake