7.2 Earthquake Hits Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Tuesday.

Fears of major damage in the remote area eased when the U.S. agency revised an initial estimate that the quake was very shallow and said it probably centered at a depth of 52 miles, 55 km (34 miles) west of Dalbandin, a town of about 15,000 people.

It had earlier said the quake, at 1:23 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2023 GMT on Tuesday), had been at only about 6 miles depth and of a magnitude of 7.4.

First reports from the region, close to the troubled frontier with Afghanistan, suggested injuries may have been limited, not least given the sparseness of the population.

Residents in major cities as far apart as the Indian capital New Delhi and the Gulf emirate of Dubai said they felt tremors, as did people in Pakistan’s major port of Karachi, although there were no early reports there of damage or injuries.

The Pacific Tsunami Center said the onshore quake had not triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

A major quake of this magnitude, if at a shallow depth and close to population centers, is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage and could pose fresh strains on a country still reeling from devastating floods last year which left more than 10 million people homeless.

On October 8, 2005, a 7.6 magnitude quake 95 km (60 miles) northeast of the Pakistani capital Islamabad killed over 70,000 people.

(Reporting by Chris Albritton in Islamabad and Sandra Maler in Washington; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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