Today’s Pakistan earthquake kills at least 15 people, including 8 children; 200 wounded near Balochistan province

QUETTA, Pakistan – At least 15 people, including eight children, have been killed and 200 injured after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck southwest Pakistan in the early hours of Thursday, local authorities said.

The death toll was revised downward by Pakistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority to 20 dead and more than 300 injured.

The earthquake struck near the remote and mountainous Harnai district of Balochistan province at around 3 a.m. local time, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS initially measured the quake at magnitude 5.7, but revised it to 5.9 hours later. It also revised the depth from 12.9 miles to 5.6 miles.

The earthquake caused power outages and damage to Harnai, according to resident Zafar Khan Tareen. The district consists of many scattered villages of basic mud houses that are home to coal mining communities.

“We went out and took our children at the same time. Thank goodness everyone in our house is safe. However, the roof and the walls of the house were badly damaged,” he said. “Almost all the shops have also collapsed and in every street of the villages … one or two people have died and many children are among the injured.”

Harnai resident Muhammad Ali said his daughter was killed when a room in her house collapsed. The other rooms were also badly damaged, with cracks in the walls, he said.

“When the earthquake happened last night, many people ran out of their homes. We also ran but one of my daughters died, two other daughters were left behind and injured. “, did he declare.

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In a message posted on Twitter Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his sadness at the loss of life in the earthquake.

“I ordered immediate emergency assistance for the victims of the Harnai earthquake, Balochistan and for an immediate damage assessment in order to receive timely relief and compensation. My condolences and prayers go out to the families who have lost their loved ones, ”he wrote.

Sohail Afridi, the Harnai district commissioner, said rescue efforts were continuing.

“Since 3 am, the rescue operation has been underway. The injured have been taken to hospital by helicopter,” Afridi said, adding that the situation was “currently under control”.

Harnai’s rural location makes it difficult to access, the Edhi Foundation welfare organization told CNN.

A road to the district was blocked by a landslide, according to the Balochistan Levies Force, the paramilitary law enforcement group in the province. A video posted by the group on Twitter showed officers working to clear the road, hand removing debris from the headlights of two vehicles.

The last time a major earthquake struck Balochistan was in September 2013. A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the remote and sparsely populated area of ​​Awaran, killing at least 330 people and injuring 445 others.

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