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Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Pakistan quake eyewitnesses

Scores of people have been killed in an earthquake which struck Pakistan's Balochistan province. Eyewitnesses in the regional capital Quetta describe the chaos after the first dramatic jolts.

SAIF-UD-DIN SHAHWANI, DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, QUETTA

Residents in the streets of Quetta after the earthquake
Residents hurried into the streets of Quetta after the quake
The first earthquake struck at 0430 local time. I was sleeping at home and I woke up when the bed started moving.

I was astonished, I thought I was dreaming. But after 30 minutes a heavy jolt brought us all running out of our homes.

People sat outside their buildings in the freezing cold until morning came. All the women and children were crying a lot. After the first jolt we just went back to sleep, we didn't know that what followed would be so enormous.

It was terrible even though Quetta was not damaged so badly. We have heard that rural areas have been badly hit, whole villages destroyed.

Today, life is going on but school students have been asked to sit outside their classrooms. School is being conducted outdoors. People have gone to office, but they went late.

I'm at home now. People there are really mentally disturbed. I went to the civil hospital as the brother of a friend was injured in the earthquake.

We have a lot of plans to start relief operations. One of the political parties here has started a campaign to collect essential items for the affected villagers.

Here in Quetta we have been told to expect aftershocks for one week.


NAJAM MAGHLANI, QUETTA

It was the worst 40 seconds of my life. it was a very strong earthquake. After the first jolt, which was not very strong, there was another big one.

There was too much panic. People started firing guns into the air to warn other people to wake up.
When I came out, I saw very strange things. It was like there was lightning all around the city. There was no electricity but still there was light in the sky.

The trees were jolting and shaking. It was just like a thunderstorm. I think the electricity lines caused this effect. Everybody came outside and we sat in our cars because it was cold.

But there was too much panic. People started firing guns into the air to warn other people to wake up. That is the custom here but it was hard to stay outside because there was so much firing.

Fortunately there is not too much damage here in Quetta. I talked to my friend in Zairat where it was badly affected but he is safe now and he talks about the shock and panic in the area.

I am working in my office now but there is still a lot of fear. Now people are just getting relief for the people in the badly affected areas.


YOUSAF BALOCH, QALAT, BALOCHISTAN

The earthquake happened last night and we were extremely shocked.

Here in Qalat, there were earthquake shocks but no casualties. I was sleeping at the time and awakened by the shock. I felt something was happening but couldn't understand what.

There has been no damage here in Qalat but in the rural areas where there are many mountains, there are many casualties we have heard.

People have been calm after the jolts but we are fearing aftershocks and we are scared that they will affect us badly because this area really does have a history of earthquakes.




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