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Pakistan Hit by Huge, but Remote Quake

People of Jafarabad, about 180 miles north of Quetta, Pakistan pray outside their homes as a severe earthquake hits the area, Jan. 19, 2010.
AP Photo
QUETTA, Pakistan - Authorities have dispatched teams to villages close to the epicenter of a powerful earthquake in Pakistan to check for any damage and casualties.

Initial daylight surveys Wednesday appeared to confirm earlier reports the sparsely populated region had escaped major damage. No deaths or injuries had been reported.

The 7.2 magnitude quake struck at 1:30 a.m. local time in a remote area some 200 miles southwest of the Baluchistan capital of Quetta, not far from the Afghan border, sending thousands running from their homes in panic.

Tremors were felt across much of south and central Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Local administrator Akbar Hussain Durrani says about 35 mud-brick homes were damaged in Baluchistan province.

Pakistan Braces for Worst in Quake Aftershocks

In Karachi, Saeeda Jehan, a middle aged woman and mother of six children, quietly read religious verses from her Islamic prayer book as she waited for her apartment building to be declared safe for her return.

"I was watching TV when suddenly the TV screen began shaking. Then I realized, it was a very strong earthquake," Jehan told CBS News as she stood outside amongst a crowd in her neighborhood near the city's main airport.

"Everyone said doomsday had arrived, but I was concerned about my children. It took me 10 minutes to wake them all up before we could all step out," Jehan recounted.

Jameel Harris, an ambulance driver in Karachi, also forced to leave his flat with his five children and his wife, said there were no reports of heavy damage, but the sense of panic was real.

"I have heard of cracks in some buildings but that is not across the board. The damage seems to have been done mostly to older buildings," Harris told CBS.