At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured on Thursday (7/10) when an earthquake hit southwest Pakistan. The unfortunate incident caused the roof and walls of the mud-brick house to collapse onto the family as they slept.
A one-year-old boy was among the dead. He breathed his last when a block fell on him in the dark, as an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale shook at least six towns and cities in Balochistan Province.
News agency AFP, Thursday (7/10), reported the worst affected area was the remote mountainous district of Harnai, where landslides blocked several roads, hampering rescue efforts.
Authorities also faced telephone and power outages after the infrastructure poles were damaged.
“We received information that 20 people died as a result of the earthquake,” Balochistan Interior Minister Mir Zia ullah Langau said, adding that 100 people were injured.
“It could be said that hundreds of mud houses were damaged.”
A woman and six children were among the 20 people killed, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior government official in Harnai District, told AFP. He put the number of injured victims at around 200 people.
“The roof of my house collapsed, when I came to my senses, I pulled my two sons, but the youngest … was dead,” Rafiullah, a farmer from a village in Harnai district, told AFP.
Army helicopters helped evacuate the injured from remote areas to Quetta, the nearest major city.
Naseer Nasar, head of the Balochistan Provincial Disaster Management Authority, warned the death toll could rise.
Aftershocks rocked the area about two hours after the first quake.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had ordered “immediate assistance in an emergency” to the affected territories.
The quake was felt in cities across Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, including the provincial capital Quetta, about 170 kilometers west of Harnai.
The US Geological Survey initially said the shallow quake had a magnitude of 5.7, before revising it to a magnitude of 5.9.
Pakistan sits on the border where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country vulnerable to earthquakes. [ah/rs]