Rescue, relief work continues in Balochistan as earthquake death toll rises to 16

Published October 8, 2021
Balochistan Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali visits earthquake-hit areas of Harnai. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan
Balochistan Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali visits earthquake-hit areas of Harnai. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan

Rescue and relief work continued in the earthquake-hit areas of Balochistan for a second day on Friday as the death toll from the calamity rose to 16.

According to a report by the Provincial Emergency Operation Centre, 16 people were killed in the earthquake, including eight children and three women. Meanwhile, 219 people were injured, including 92 children and 73 women.

The report noted that nine patients had been referred to Quetta via ambulances while 14 had been referred via helicopters. "No exact number of damages has been reported as yet," the report said.

Meanwhile, aftershocks were also felt for a second day. According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, the magnitude of the aftershocks — which occurred around 04:30pm and 82.5km northeast of Sibi — was 3.2.

Pakistan Army continues rescue, relief operations

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that Balochistan Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali visited the affected areas of the province to oversee troops taking part in rescue and relief operations in Harnai.

"Pakistan Army urban search and rescue team busy in speedy rescue and relief efforts at Harnai. Necessary medical care being provided by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps doctors and paramedics," the statement said.

It added that all those critically injured had been evacuated to Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Quetta through Pak Army aviation helicopters while a large number were also evacuated by road.

The statement said that 300 special food and administrative packages, including tents/blankets and meals, were also provided to the affected population.

Quake heaps shock, misery on Harnai

The 5.9 magnitude earthquake, which had struck parts of Balochistan early on Thursday, caused widespread devastation. The worst-affected area was the remote mountainous district of Harnai, where landslides blocked some roads, hampering rescue efforts.

The powerful quake hit four districts of Balochistan, including Quetta, at 3.01am on Thursday.

Harnai district, 95km northeast of Quetta, bore the brunt of the quake where casualties occurred and hundreds of mud-houses collapsed or were damaged, rendering thousands of people homeless.

The tremor struck at a shallow depth of around 20km, its epicentre was located near Harnai town and it was also felt in Chaman, Pishin, Ziarat, Mastung, Sibi, Sanjavi, Qila Saifullah, Muslim Bagh, Zhob and Duki.

Local authorities and Provincial Disaster Management Authority officials said that hundreds of houses collapsed or were damaged in Harnai.

“I was sleeping when all of a sudden my entire house started jolting. I woke up and immediately took my wife and children outside of the house,” Munir Shah, who runs a grocery shop in Harnai town, told Dawn over phone.

A local journalist, Nawab Khan, said: “Massive destruction can be witnessed in Babu Mohalla where around 250 houses have collapsed or have been badly damaged and a large numbers of people injured.

“Mostly, people who lost their lives belonged to villages located on the outskirts of Harnai town, Mohammad Hanif told Dawn over phone. He said that he saw many people who were trapped under derbies.

Local authorities said that the entire town presented a picture of devastation, as no house looked safe and almost 70 per cent of power supply to the district had been disrupted.

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