At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan's Balochistan province early on Thursday, according to media reports. Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.
According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.
The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.
Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported. Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.
The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said. According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai. Most of the population in the area live in sun-baked mud houses, many of which collapsed.