At Least 20 Dead After Quake Collapses Homes, Coal Mine

Authorities in Pakistan fear toll will rise sharply
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2021 4:13 AM CDT
At Least 20 Dead After Strong Pakistan Quake
Residents gather outside their houses after a severe earthquake in Quetta, Pakistan, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.   (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)

A powerful earthquake collapsed at least one coal mine and dozens of mud houses in southwest Pakistan early Thursday, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 200, an official said. The death toll was expected to rise even further as crews searched in the remote mountainous area, said Suhail Anwar Shaheen, the local deputy commissioner. At least four of the dead were killed when the coal mine in which they were working collapsed, said Shaheen, citing coal miners in the area. As many as 100 homes also collapsed, burying sleeping residents inside, the AP reports.

The epicenter of the 5.9 magnitude quake was about 9 miles north-northeast of Harnai in Baluchistan province, according to the US Geological Survey. The area, about 60 miles from Quetta, the provincial capital, is dotted with coal mines, which has Shaheen worried the death toll could rise. It struck in the early morning while scores of miners were already at work, he said. Pakistan's military was deployed to the earthquake area to airlift dozens of injured from mountain peaks. At least nine critically injured people were taken to the provincial hospital in Quetta. Search and rescue teams have arrived in the mountains, an army statement said.

(More Pakistan stories.)

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