The death toll from a powerful earthquake in Pakistan rose to at least 208 on Wednesday after hundreds of mud houses collapsed on people in a remote area near the Iranian border, reports Reuters. The earthquake struck Pakistan's thinly populated province of Baluchistan on Tuesday and was felt across South Asia. It destroyed houses and cut communications with the worst affected district of Awaran, and was so powerful that it caused a small island to emerge from the sea just off the coastline in the Arabian Sea. "We have started to bury the dead," Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, told Reuters by telephone from the affected area. He said at least 373 people were injured. The army deployed helicopters and hundreds of soldiers to help deal with the rescue effort in the huge, earthquake-prone province of deserts and rugged mountains bordering Iran and Afghanistan. The United States Geological Survey said the quake was 7.8 in magnitude. On the coast near Gwadar port, crowds of bewildered residents gathered to witness the rare phenomenon of the island that the quake forced out of the sea.

QHA