Deadly earthquake cuts southwestern Pakistan, collapses coal mines and destroys buildings

A powerful earthquake has collapsed at least one coal mine and many flimsy mud houses in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 200, an official said.

According to local Deputy Commissioner Suhail Anwar Shaheen, the death toll is expected to rise as crews search the remote mountainous area.

At least four of the victims died when the mine where they worked collapsed, Shaheen said, referring to coal miners in the area.

The epicenter of the magnitude 5.9 earthquake was about 14 kilometers north-northeast of Harnai in Baluchistan province, according to the US Geological Survey.

The first measurement of the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.7.

5.9 earthquake hits Quetta, Pakistan
The quake left dozens of houses in ruins.(

AP: Uncredited

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It hit about 20 kilometers below the earth’s surface.

The area, about 100 kilometers from Quetta, the provincial capital, is filled with coal mines.

Shaheen said authorities expected the death toll to rise.

The quake struck early in the morning while dozens of miners were already at work, he said.

The majority of the population in the area live in sun-baked mud houses, many of which collapsed.

Rescue efforts are underway, but Shaheen said it would take hours just to reach many of the hardest-hit areas.

Hundreds left homeless

More than 100 houses collapsed and a large number of other buildings, including public facilities, were damaged.

A boy with a bandaged head is being treated by torch after being injured in the quake.
An injured boy receives treatment with a torch at a local hospital.(

AP: Uncredited

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Hundreds of people were made homeless, Shaheen said.

Social media showed houses shaking and light fixtures swaying as the earthquake struck, and stunned residents gathered on the streets in the dark.

The injured were taken to hospital while some were treated on stretchers on the street under the light of a telephone burner.

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Quetta in 1935, killing between 30,000 and 60,000 people, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit South Asia in recorded history.

AP / Reuters

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