ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in southwest Pakistan rose to 327 on Wednesday (September 25) after hundreds of mud houses collapsed on residents throughout the remote and thinly populated area, local officials said.

Pakistan's army airlifted hundreds of soldiers to help with the aftermath of the worst earthquake in the South Asian country since 2005, when about 75,000 people were killed in the country's north.

Tuesday's earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck Baluchistan, a huge earthquake-prone province of deserts and rugged mountains, and was felt across South Asia.

It destroyed houses and cut communications with the worst affected district of Awaran, and was so powerful it caused a small island to emerge from the Arabian Sea, just off the Pakistani coast.

Rescue teams found it hard to reach the remote location quickly, and some officials said the death toll was likely to rise as emergency workers fanned further into the mountains to assess the damage.

To the south, on the beach near Gwadar port, crowds of bewildered residents gathered to witness the rare phenomenon of an island that the quake thrust up out of the sea.

The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off the coastline in the Arabian Sea.