ISLAMABAD: At least 20 people were killed and more than 300 injured in a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Harnai district of Balochistan. The quake affected Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saif, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob besides the provincial capital Quetta.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan, an earthquake that struck between 3 and 2 minutes between Wednesday and Thursday night buried 20 people under the rubble of houses, killing more than 300 and injuring more than 300.
According to rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reportedly damaged in Harnai while most of the casualties were reported in Harnai district. Interior Minister Mir Zia Langowo told the media that an emergency had been declared in all districts of the quake-hit province to help with relief efforts and health services.
The minister added that helicopters were being sent to the affected areas to evacuate the critically injured to other cities, including the provincial capital Quetta. According to Pakistan's National Seismological Monitoring Center, the quake measured 5.9 on the Richter scale with its epicenter 102 km east of Quetta near Harnai and 15 km below the ground.
PDMA Balochistan Director General Naseer said rescue teams have reached the affected areas and started relief work. He added that the mountainous areas of the district and the power outage have hampered relief efforts.
Landslides have closed several roads in some quake-hit areas, affecting relief efforts. It will take some time to arrive.
The PDMA provincial chief said that according to initial reports, at least three villages in Harnai district were most affected where about 70 houses had collapsed. Harnai Deputy Commissioner Sohail Anwar Hashmi said the bodies and injured Being transferred to nearby hospitals,
The dead and wounded included women and children, he added. The official told the media that the death toll could rise further. At least 15 of the injured are in critical condition and many are buried under the rubble of collapsed houses.