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Pakistan earthquake felt in India and the Middle East

January 19, 2011
Tremors from a powerful earthquake that rattled many parts of Pakistan early Wednesday were felt as far as New Delhi, 700 miles away.
Quetta residents
Quetta residents sit on a roadside in fear of their homes being weakened a powerful earthquake rocked southwest Pakistan early on Jan. 19. The 7.2 magnitude quake struck struck near the border with Afghanistan and was felt as far away as India and the Gulf. (Banaras Khan/Getty Images) Click to enlarge photo

Tremors from a powerful earthquake that rattled many parts of Pakistan early Wednesday were felt as far as New Delhi, 700 miles away.

The 7.2 magnitude quake hit in a sparsely-populated area near the nation’s borders with Iran and Afghanistan, 640 miles west-southwest of Islamabad, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

No fatalities have been reported.

Officials in Karen, a town in a sparsely populated area close to the epicenter, told the Associated Press that the town suffered no widespread damage.

People came out of their houses in the southern city of Karachi, home to 18 million people, but no major damage was reported there either.

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Tremors shook structures in many other parts of the country and were felt as far as Dubai in the Middle East.

The earthquake’s intensity was just below that of another earthquake measuring 7.6 that struck parts of northern Pakistan in 2005 and killed more than 70,000 people.

Government officials warned of the danger of aftershocks in coming days. In some instances such aftershocks have come within a week of previous earthquakes.

“It’s not uncommon for this region to have earthquakes. It is where two tectonic plates come together” CNN quoted Kurt Frankel of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In Pakistan’s capital Islamabad a Western diplomat quoted by CBS News warned that further damage from the earthquake, notably any of its aftershocks, could seriously undermine Pakistan’s future, right at a time when the United States is urging the country to extend more cooperation in its campaign to fight militants.

“A humanitarian crisis in Pakistan caused by the earthquake will only undermine U.S. interests,” the  diplomat said. “As it is, we must all worry about instability in a country armed with nuclear weapons and with political and economic problems,” he added.

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