A relief and rescue operation is underway in Balochistan after a powerful earthquake in the province killed at least 20 people and injured more than 300 others early on Thursday morning. Aftershocks are still being reported from various affected by the jolt and an emergency has been declared in all hospitals. Most of the deceased are children, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has said.
The first tremors were reported at 3:20am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their homes. The magnitude of the quake was measured at 5.9 on the Richter scale. The earthquake was felt in Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob. The epicenter was located near Harnai at a depth of 15km, and the district is most affected by the quake. It has a large number of coal mines.
Rescue & Relief operation is underway after devastating Earthquake in Balochistan. Army's special Rescue & Relief team being airlifted to Quetta & Hurnai.
A medical emergency has been announced at Quetta’s Civil Hospital Quetta, where doctors and other paramedical staff have been recalled on an emergency basis, the MS of the hospital said.
The injured were rushed to hospitals, while some were treated on stretchers in the street under phone torch lights.
It is important to recall here that Pakistan straddles the boundary between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.
In October 2015, a 7.5-magnitude quake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed nearly 400 people. Another 7.6-magnitude quake struck on October 8, 2005, that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that a rescue and relief operation is underway. A Pakistan Army special rescue and relief team is being airlifted to Quetta and Harnai, the NDMA spokesperson said on Twitter.
According to a statement issued by the ISPR, necessary food and shelter items have been moved for the earthquake affected population.
Army doctors and paramedics along with necessary medicines are assisting the civil administration for necessary medical care, the ISPR has said, adding that 9 critically injured people were evacuated by air to Quetta through Pakistan Army aviation helicopters.
The Balochistan (North) IGFC has also reached Harnai to assess the damage, while an urban search and rescue team is being flown from Rawalpindi to speed up and assist in rescue activities.
According to Harnai’s deputy commissioner of Harnai, several people were rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
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.
He said several buildings in Harnai had been damaged and many people were buried under the rubble. He said some government structures also were destructed. The power supply to the area is suspended, he said.
It is being reported that more than 70 houses damaged in Harnai. Bodies of 10 people, including six children, and over 150 wounded people were moved to the hospital.
Schools are closed in Harnai as aftershocks continue to be felt. The district administration has said that all educational institutions will remain closed today due to the earthquake in Harnai.