At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale jolted Pakistan's Balochistan on Thursday morning, according to provincial authorities.According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre of Pakistan, the 5.9-magnitude quake struck at 3.01 a.m. with focal depth of 15 km and the epicentre located near the Harnai district.It added the quake had a longitude of 67.96 east and a latitude of 30.08 north.Tremors were felt in Quetta, Sibbi, Pishin, Muslim Bagh, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah, Sanjavi, Zhob and Chaman, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said in its initial report.It further said the "exact damage" has not yet been confirmed, Dawn news reported.The death toll was also confirmed by Deputy Commissioner of Harnai District Sohail Anwar Hashmi. He said six children were also among the deceased.Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani shared that assistance and evacuation efforts were under way."Blood, ambulances, emergency assistance, (helicopters) and rest all things are placed... All departments are working on it," he tweeted.Nine critically injured patients were airlifted to Quetta in Pakistan Army helicopters, according to a statement by the army's media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The ISPR statement said the inspector general of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan has reached the district for damage assessment and response.In addition, an urban search and rescue team was being flown in from Rawalpindi to assist in rescue work.Speaking to Geo News, PDMA Director General Naseer Ahmed Nasir said there had been some landsliding in mountainous areas.He added that houses within a 15 km radius of Harnai had been destroyed and rescue teams were busy in relief efforts.The official said that government buildings had been damaged as well.Separately, Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove said five to six districts were affected on a "major scale" and data was still being collected.He said the highest number of deaths and injuries had been reported in Harnai, adding that critical patients would be shifted to Quetta immediately."They are our people, the state's resources are for them. People won't be left helpless. Those who have suffered a loss will be compensated," the Minister said while speaking to Geo News.In August, an earthquake of 3.1 magnitude had jolted Karachi, but no casualties or damage were reported.In June last year, an earthquake of 5.7 magnitude was recorded in several areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the provincial capital Peshawar.Prior to that, another quake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale had struck the northern areas of the country as well as Afghanistan. No significant loss to life and property was reported in either incident.In September 2019, however, an earthquake had struck several areas of southern Pakistan occupied Kashmir, claiming the lives of 38 people and leaving hundreds of others injured.