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Violent quake kills at least 170 people

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-10-30

At least 170 people have been killed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan near its border with Afghanistan, according to the police. Authorities report that people are still trapped under the debris.

The United States offered Wednesday to send humanitarian relief to southwest Pakistan after at least 170 people were killed and many others displaced in a powerful earthquake.

"We are deeply saddened to learn about the earthquake... Our sympathies go out to the victims of this tragedy as well as to those who have been displaced by it," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"We are currently working with the Pakistani government, the UN (United Nations) and other potential donors to assess the damage," he told the daily press briefing.

"Once we are able to make that assessment and also talk to the Pakistani government about what their needs might be, we will stand ready to provide an assistance package," McCormack said.

The earthquake struck southwest Pakistan before dawn Wednesday, killing at least 170 people, destroying mud homes and sending survivors screaming into the streets in panic.

At least eight villages were badly hit by the 6.4-magnitude quake, local police and officials said, warning the death toll could rise as rescue workers reached villages in the remote mountainous region bordering Afghanistan.

Dilawar Kakar, the mayor of the historic hill town of Ziarat, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the city of Quetta, said the death toll had risen to 170, while about 400 people in the area were injured.

In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said thousands may have lost their homes and hundreds may have died in the temblor.

Date created : 2008-10-29