About 20 people died after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck southern Pakistan in darkness on Thursday morning, government officials said.
Many of the victims were killed when roofs and walls collapsed, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior provincial government official, told AFP.
A woman and six children were among the twenty killed, he said.
“We are receiving information that 20 people died due to the earthquake. Rescue efforts are underway,” added Provincial Interior Minister Mir Zia ullah Langau.
Naseer Nasar, head of Balochistan’s provincial disaster management authority, told AFP that between 15 and 20 people had died, but that the number of victims could rise.
The worst affected area was the remote mountain town of Harnai in Baluchistan, where a lack of paved roads, electricity and mobile phone coverage has hampered rescue efforts.
The earthquake was also felt in Balochistan’s provincial capital, Quetta.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 5.7 and struck around 3 a.m. at a depth of about 12 miles (20 kilometers).
Pakistan straddles the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.
In October 2015, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed nearly 400 people on rough terrain that impeded relief efforts.
The country was also hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake on October 8, 2005, which killed more than 73,000 people and left some 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.