QUETTA: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake killed at least 20 people and injured over 300 others in Balochistan in the wee hours of Thursday.
The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting Kalimas and verses from the holy Quran.
The strong earthquake jolted various areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob.
The magnitude of the quake was measured at 5.9 on the Richter Scale. According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.
Meanwhile, security forces troops reached earthquake hit areas of Harnai and launched rescue and relief efforts, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
According to the military’s media wing, necessary food and shelter items were being provided to the people in earthquake affected areas.
“Army doctors and paramedics along with necessary medicines are assisting civil administration for necessary medical care,” said ISPR.
Nine critically injured airlifted to Quetta through Pakistan army aviation Helicopters, read the statement.
IG FC Balochistan (North) has also reached Harnai for damage assessment and response, the military’s media wing said, adding that urban search and rescue team being flown from Rawalpindi to speed up and assist in rescue activities.
The provincial government has declared emergency in all the hospital and doctors and other paramedical staff have been recalled to provide best medical treatment to the wounded people in the earthquake.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), most of the deceased are children. The death toll is feared to rise.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
The deputy commissioner said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged while many people have been left buried under the rubble. He said some government structures also were destructed. The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.
According to the deputy commissioner, levies and rescue teams have been dispatched to help and evacuate the affected people.
According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.
The bodies of ten people, including six children, and over 150 wounded people have been shifted to the hospital, according the MS Harnai Hospital.
Balochistan Home Minister Ziaullah Lango has confirmed that 15 people have lost lives in the quake.
According to Balochistan Home Minister, the PDMA has sent heavy machinery and rescue teams to the affected areas from Quetta.
He said that there were reports of damage in Ziarat, Qila Saifullah and Sibi while most of the casualties were reported in Harnai.
According to Ziaullah Lango, most people are still stuck under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Lango said there are reports of damage coming Ziarat, Qila Saifullah and Sibi also. "We will not leave people without help. We will make up for the it losses," he said.
Emergency was also enforced in Quetta hospitals as the injured are being shifted to hospitals in Quetta, he said.
The condition of 15 of the injured is critical, DGPDMA said
DG PDMA Balochistan Naseer Ahmed Nasir said said the seriously injured people have been sent to Quetta. He said it would take him time to reach Harnai as landslides occurred in some areas.
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