The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck Pakistan Tuesday has risen to 327 people, as an odd side effect from tremors caused an actual island to appear on the Arabian Sea. While the area and its residents are no strangers to earthquakes, or their devastating after effects, the resulting formation is unusual. A small island — measuring about 656 feet long and extending about 20 feet to 30 feet in the air — appeared in the Arabian Sea off the coast near the port of Gwadar.
Powerful earthquakes can occasionally cause serious deformity in the earth's crust, which can then become visible, especially along coastlines. Still, it's rare that such a large formation would crop up following an earthquake.
The 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocked Pakistan's Baluchistan province on Tuesday afternoon. In the poor area, many houses (which are often made of mud) were flattened by the quake, leaving thousands of people to spend Tuesday night without shelter.
The rural location hit the worst by the quake has been difficult for rescue crews to reach, though victims trapped in collapsed structures are in dire need of medical aid. An official from Baluchistan, Additional Home Secretary Zahid bin Maqsood, estimated that 210 people had died and said 375 people had been injured. Another estimate by local official, Jan Mohammad Bulaidi, estimated that around 238 people had died. Bulaidi also said that the area was seriously in need of aid. "We need more tents, more medicine and more food," he said.
So far officials say that about 1,000 troops have been dispatched to the area to help with rescue efforts and medical aid.