Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, as search and rescue operations are on.
National Seismic Monitoring Centre in Islamabad reported that the epicentre of the earthquake was near Harnai in Balochistan province at a depth of around 15 kilometres and a magnitude of 5.9 on the Richter Scale.
The quake affected provincial capital Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob regions in Balochistan and was a more destructive ‘shallow quake.’ The worst-affected area was the remote mountainous city of Harnai, the epicentre, where a lack of paved roads, electricity and mobile phone coverage has affected rescue operations.
More than 100 mud houses have also collapsed, leaving hundreds of people homeless and many buried under mounds of rubble. Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas as the quake struck Balochistan at 3 am local time, with the first tremors felt at 3:20 am.
Power supply to the area has been suspended, as rescue efforts continue.
The region has the highest rates of seismicity, as Pakistan straddles the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates boundary. As a result, the country has seen some of the largest earthquakes in the Himalayan region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults.
The most devastating one was a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005, that killed almost 80,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir region.
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