At least 20 people were killed and more than 200 injured when an earthquake struck southern Pakistan , Disaster Management Authority Director General Naseer Nasir said on Thursday.
The quake with a magnitude of 5.7 was relatively shallow at 20 kms (12 miles) with an epicentre 102 km (62 miles) east of Quetta, said the US Geological Survey (USGS).
More than 100 mud houses collapsed and a large number were damaged, including government buildings. Hundreds of people were rendered homeless, Sohail Anwar, deputy commissioner in the city of Harnai, told Reuters .
The dead were mostly women and children, said rescue officials.
Many of the victims died when roofs and walls collapsed after the 5.7 magnitude quake struck, with health workers treating the injured with the help of torches after electricity failed.
A woman and six children were among 20 dead, Sohail, the senior provincial government official, told AFP .
“We are receiving information that 20 people have been killed due to the earthquake. Rescue efforts are under way,” provincial interior minister Mir Zia ullah Langau added.
Naseer Nasar, the head of Balochistan’s Provincial Disaster Management authority, told AFP that between 15 and 20 people had died, but warned that the toll may increase.
The worst-affected area was the remote mountainous city of Harnai, in Balochistan, where a lack of paved roads, electricity and mobile phone coverage has hampered the rescue effort.
The quake caused electricity to fail in the region, with health staff working without lights in a poorly equipped government hospital.
“We were operating without electricity with the help of torches and mobile flashlights,” Zahoor Tarin, a senior official at the government-run Harnai hospital told AFP .
“Most of the injured came with fractured limbs. Dozens of people were sent back after first aid while some 40 people who were critically injured have been sent to Quetta in ambulances,” he added.
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