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Pakistan quake death toll likely to rise over 300

  • Story Highlights
  • More than 200 killed by 6.4-magnitude quake in southwestern Pakistan
  • More feared dead, more than 10,000 people homeless
  • Quake triggered landslide burying dozens of houses
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- The death toll from the earthquake in southwestern Pakistan will likely rise to more than 300, local officials say.

Quake victims tend to an injured man in southwestern Pakistan.

Provincial government minister Zamrak Khan told The Associated Press that 215 deaths had been confirmed, but said Friday that officials were receiving reports of more deaths from remote areas and that the toll would likely top 300.

The quake rendered between 10,000 and 15,000 people homeless when it struck a remote area of Balochistan province early Wednesday, said Asar ul Haq of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Many residents are reluctant to return home, afraid their houses might collapse, he said.

The death toll was tallied based on bodies that had been recovered and buried by Thursday, said Mohammad Dawud of the District Police Office in the hardest-hit Ziarat district. A quake-induced landslide there buried dozens of homes.

The main quake struck just after 4 a.m., about 35 miles (60 km) north-northeast of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. It was followed by a 6.2-magnitude aftershock about 12 hours later, and dozens of smaller ones, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.

"There are some villages completely destroyed. There is a lot of destruction," said the province's Deputy Director of Public Safety Mohammad Ali.

TV images from the scene showed women squatting next to gaping craters where houses once stood -- their heads buried in their hands. Video Watch images of the damage »

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Villagers clawed through heaps of dirt and debris searching for signs of life. Elsewhere, solemn residents shoveled dirt to create mass graves to bury the dead.

Balochistan, located near the Afghan border, is the largest province in Pakistan but one of its least populated. A 7.5-magnitude quake in the province's capital, Quetta, killed 30,000 people in 1935, according to the United States Geological Survey.

All About Natural DisastersEarthquakesPakistanU.S. Geological Survey

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