(Update 1: adds details)
Islamabad, Oct 7 (EFE).- A powerful 5.9 magnitude earthquake killed at least 23 people and injured over 300 in southwest Pakistan in the early hours of Thursday, with the poorest people hit the hardest as their mud houses collapsed due to the tremor.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake hit around 3.30 am close to the city of Harnai in the Balochistan province, at a depth of 9 kilometers, and was followed by an aftershock of 4.6 magnitude.
“In total 23 people were killed and more than 300 were injured. Mostly children died because adults rushed outside but children could not. It’s a mountainous area and has coal mines but the mines remained safe,” the joint commissioner of Harnai, Sohail Anwar told EFE.
He said that the rescue mission had concluded and there were no reports of anyone missing anymore, adding that around 100 houses had been damaged.
“We had a mud house which was partially damaged in the earthquake,” Ghulam Qadir, a Harnai resident, told EFE.
Power lines in the area have also been affected by the calamity.
Noor Khan, a disaster management officer, had told EFE on Thursday morning that two helicopters flew to the city to airlift the seriously injured to the provincial capital of Quetta.
“I have ordered immediate assistance on an emergency basis for the Harnai, Balochistan, earthquake victims & for an immediate assessment of the damage for timely relief & compensation. My condolences & prayers go to the families who lost their loved ones,” Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.
The South Asian region is prone to earthquakes due to its proximity to the Himalayas, where the two great continental plates of India and Eurasia collide, converging at a relative speed of 40 to 50 millimeters per year.
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Balochistan killed 360 deaths in 2013.
In September 2019, a 5.6 magnitude quake hit Pakistani Kashmir, killing 37 and wounding more than 500. EFE