Pakistan Earthquake

By Luis & Erise

A new powerful earthquake struck Saturday in southwestern Pakistan, shaking an area already trying to recover from a quake that killed more than 300 people.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck in Balochistan province Saturday about 96 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Awaran, the United States Geological Survey said.

Rasheed Baloch, the Deputy Commissioner Awaran told CNN seven people died when a house collapsed in Mashkay Tehsil as result of new earthquake on Saturday.

Just Tuesday, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the same area ofPakistan. The death toll in that quake has risen to 366 people and another 765 are injured.

Authorities estimate that 21,000 houses were destroyed in Tuesday's earthquake.

But Rasheed Baloch, deputy commissioner for Awaran district, told CNN more than 60 mud-walled buildings had collapsed in the Nok Jo area of the district. Four bodies have been found in the rubble, he said, but they appear to be casualties of Tuesday's quake.

Baloch said a rescue operation was under way in Awaran district to retrieve the dead bodies and shift the injured to hospitals.

The remoteness of the affected area and damaged communications networks are hindering the rescue operation, officials said.

Rescue teams are also reluctant to visit some troubled areas owing to attacks by Baloch separatists, the deputy commissioner said.

The separatists are blamed for firing two rockets at a military helicopter ferrying the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, Maj. Gen. Muhammad Saeed Aleem, and another general to the earthquake zone on Thursday. Both survived the attack, said Jan Buledi, spokesman for the government of Balochistan.

The defunct Baloch Liberation Front reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Militants fighting for a separate state in Balochistan operate out of part of Awaran district, which has been the site of bombings.

Tremors were also felt Saturday in Kech district, Khuzdar, Kalat and other towns of Balochistan province.

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