An island has emerged from the Arabian Sea off the coast of southwestern Pakistan, following the 7.7 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday.
Residents of Gwadar gathered on the beach to look at the new land mass, which is around 200 metres long.
Scientists were sent to inspect it, amid reports that it was emitting flammable gas.
The creation of such an island is a rare phenomenon, but a spokesman for the government’s National Disaster Management Authority, Kamran Zia, said it would not survive long because sea waves would eventually break it down. “This is not a permanent structure, just a body of mud,” he added. “It will disappear over time.”
At least 515 people were killed in Tuesday’s earthquake and at least 15 people died in an aftershock five days later.
The district of Arawan was hardest hit. In Karachi Civil Hospital in Arawan, Noor Bux explained how he feared for his family: “I was in my room and my children were in another. Now, I don’t know where my wife and children are, whether they’re alive or dead. I don’t know where they are.”
Days after the quake bodies were still being discovered in houses whose mud walls and wooden roof beams had collapsed.
“My daughter was killed when my house collapsed – I was also inside my house but manage to run out,” said 70-year-old Gul Jan. “We are sitting under the scorching sun and need shelter.”
In Labash village near Awaran, more than half of the 3,000 houses have collapsed and those still standing have wide cracks.