Around 20 people were killed and more than 200 injured when a shallow earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan in the early hours of Thursday, October 7, 2021, with rescuers trying to reach coal miners reportedly trapped underground.
Many of the victims died when roofs and walls collapsed after the 5.7 magnitude quake struck in Balochistan province, with a power cut forcing health workers to treat the injured using flashlights.
The worst-affected area was the remote mountainous district of Harnai, where a lack of paved roads, electricity and mobile phone coverage hampered rescue efforts.
“We are receiving information that 20 people have been killed due to the earthquake,” said Balochistan’s home minister Mir Zia ullah Langau.
A woman and six children were among 20 dead, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior provincial government official in Harnai told AFP, adding that “more than 200 people have been injured”.
“There are reports that some 15 coal miners are trapped in a mine on the outskirts of the town due to the quake,” he added.
It is common in Pakistan for miners to work at night when temperatures are cooler.
A rescue team was being sent to the mine, while helicopters were due to be dispatched to support the rescue effort and evacuate the injured.
Naseer Nasar, the head of Balochistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority, warned that the toll may rise.