Deadly earthquake shakes southwest Pakistan, collapsing coal mine, damaging buildings
A powerful earthquake has collapsed at least one coal mine and many fragile mud houses in southwest Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 200, an official said.
- The earthquake struck about 100 kilometers from Quetta, the provincial capital
- The death toll is expected to rise as there are several coal mines in the area
- More than 100 mud houses collapsed
The death toll is expected to rise as teams search the remote mountainous region, according to local deputy commissioner Suhail Anwar Shaheen.
At least four of the victims died when the mine they were working in collapsed, Shaheen said, citing local coal miners.
The epicenter of the 5.9 magnitude quake was about 14 kilometers northeast of Harnai in Balochistan province, according to the US Geological Survey.
The initial measurement of the strength of the earthquake was magnitude -5.7.
It struck about 20 kilometers below the Earth’s surface.
The area, about 100 kilometers from Quetta, the provincial capital, is dotted with coal mines.
Mr Shaheen said authorities expected the death toll to rise.
The earthquake struck early in the morning when dozens of miners were already at work, he said.
Most of the region’s population lives in terracotta houses in the sun, many of which have collapsed.
Rescue efforts are underway, but Mr Shaheen said it would take hours to reach many of the hardest hit areas.
Hundreds of homeless people
More than 100 houses collapsed and scores of other buildings, including government facilities, were damaged.
Hundreds of people were left homeless, Shaheen said.
Social media showed houses shaking and lightings swaying as the earthquake struck, and stunned residents gathering on the streets in the dark.
The injured were rushed to hospital, while some were treated on stretchers in the street by phone torchlight.
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Quetta in 1935, killing between 30,000 and 60,000 people, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in South Asian history.
AP / Reuters