A predawn earthquake struck southern Pakistan on Thursday as most residents slept, killing at least 20 people and destroying hundreds of homes and offices, Officials said.
Harnai, in southern Balochistan Province, was severely damaged by the devastating 5.9-magnitude earthquake which occurred shortly after 3 a.m. local time. Hundreds of people were injured and left homeless after dozens of houses collapsed.
The quake had a depth of around 5.6 miles, according to the US Geological Survey, which is considered extremely shallow and possibly more hazardous because it is closer to the surface. The center of the earthquake was about 60 miles from Quetta, the provincial capital that is near the Afghan border.
Disaster officials said the death toll from the quake on Thursday was expected to rise.
The Pakistani military said its troops had reached the area to help with rescue operations. “Army doctors and paramedics, along with necessary medicines, are assisting civil administration for necessary medical care,” the military’s news media wing said in a statement.
A state of emergency was imposed at Civil Hospital in Quetta, where officials issued a call to all medical personnel for help.
Pakistan lies in an area noted for high seismic activity.