May 31, 2023

East Valley Times

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5.9 magnitude earthquake shakes Balochistan province, killing at least 15

Twenty people were killed and more than 300 were injured by Pakistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

The quake struck near Harnai district in the remote Balochistan province at around 3am local time. American Geological Survey (USGS)

The USGS initially measured 5.7 on the Richter scale, but changed its magnitude to 5.9 a few hours later. It adjusted the depth from 20.8 kilometers (12.9 miles) to 9 kilometers (5.6 miles).

Resident Jaber Khan Tareen said the quake caused power outages and damage across Hornai. The district has several scattered villages of basic mud houses inhabited by coal mining communities.

“We went outside and at the same time took our children outside. Thank God, everyone in our house is safe. However, the roof and walls of the house were badly damaged,” he said.

“Almost all the shops have collapsed and on every street in the villages … one or two people have died and many of the injured are children.”

Muhammad Ali, a resident of Harna, said a room in his house collapsed and his daughter died. Other rooms were badly damaged and cracks appeared in the walls, he said.

“When the quake struck last night, many people ran out of their homes. We also ran out, but one of my daughters died and the other two women were abandoned,” he said.

In a Twitter post on Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences to the victims of the quake.

“I have ordered immediate relief for those affected by the earthquake in Hernai, Balochistan and immediate assessment of the damage for immediate relief and compensation. My condolences and prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones,” he wrote.

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Hornai District Commissioner Sohail Afridi said rescue operations were ongoing.

“The rescue operation has been going on since 3 am. The injured were airlifted to the hospital by helicopter,” Afridi said, adding that the situation was now under control.

The rural location of Hernai makes it difficult to access, the welfare organization Ethi Foundation told CNN.

A road leading to the district has been blocked by a landslide, according to the Balochistan Lewis Force, a paramilitary law enforcement agency in the district. A Video Officers posted by the group on Twitter showed they were working to clear the road, removing debris by hand on the headlights of two vehicles.
The last major earthquake in Balochistan September 2013. The quake, measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale, struck a remote, uninhabited area of ‚Äč‚ÄčAvaran, killing at least 330 people and injuring 445 others.

CNN’s Sofia Saifi reported from Karachi and Azaz Syed from Islamabad.