Around 20 people have been killed after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit southern Pakistan in darkness early on Thursday, government officials said.
Many of the victims died when roofs and walls collapsed, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior provincial government official, said on Thursday.
A woman and six children were among twenty dead, he said.
‘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.
Pictured: A map showing the location of the earthquake, over 60 miles to the east-north-east of Quetta
Naseer Nasar, the head of Balochistan’s Provincial Disaster Management authority said that between 15 and 20 people had died, but 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 US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 5.7 – upgraded from an earlier 5.4 – and struck around 3am at a depth of around 12 miles, with its epicentre located 63 miles east-northeast of Quetta, Pakistan.
Quetta, Pakistan’s 10th largest city, is home to over one million people.
In October 2015, a 7.5-magnitude quake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed almost 400 people across rugged terrain that impeded relief efforts.
The country was also hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005, that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
In 1935, Quetta was largely destroyed by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that is estimated to have killed anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 people.
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