The Turkish foreign minister has offered assistance to Pakistan after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the country’s southwest, killing at least 20 people.
According to diplomatic sources, Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi and conveyed his condolences over the loss of lives.
During the conversation, Cavusoglu also stated that Ankara stands ready to provide every kind of assistance to Islamabad.
The quake was centered about 14 kilometers north-northeast of Harnai in Baluchistan province. The location is about 100 kilometers from Quetta, the provincial capital.
Read more: President, PM condole over losses in Balochistan earthquake
According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, a rescue and relief operation is underway. Baluchistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said people are being evacuated by government departments along with support from army and security forces.
At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured on Thursday when an earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan, causing roofs and walls of mud-brick homes to collapse on families as they slept.
A one-year-old boy was among the victims, killed when a beam crashed on top of him in the darkness, as the 5.9-magnitude quake jolted at least six cities and towns in Balochistan province.
The worst-affected area was the remote mountainous district of Harnai, where landslides blocked some roads, hampering initial rescue efforts.
#Earthquake killed at least 20 in #Balochistan. Lack of paved roads to #Hernai and mobile-phone coverage has hampered the rescue effort. The quake also caused electricity to fail in the region.#Pakistan https://t.co/bxH2VjFx7G
— Malali Bashir (@MalaliBashir) October 7, 2021
“The roof of my house collapsed, when I regained consciousness, I pulled out two of my sons, but the youngest one… had already died,” survivor Rafiullah, a farmer from a village in Harnai district, told AFP.
The first burials, including that of two children, have already taken place, AFP journalists witnessed. Under Islamic tradition, burials take place as quickly as possible after death.
Army helicopters helped to evacuate the injured from Harnai district to Quetta, the nearest major city.
Suhail Anwar Hashmi, the top government official in Harnai district, told AFP six children were among the dead, putting the number of injured at around 200.
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“It is safe to say that hundreds of mud houses were damaged,” said Balochistan’s home minister Mir Zia Ullah Langau, putting the death toll at 20 with more than 100 injured.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk