At least 20 people are dead and more than 200 injured after a strong 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck southwest Pakistan early Thursday morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the quake was about 100 kilometers east of Quetta near the Afghan border, and was centered about 20 kilometers below the surface.

The coal-mining town of Harnai in Baluchistan province sustained the brunt of the earthquake. The quake caused as many as 100 mud houses to collapse, trapping many residents inside as they were sleeping. Television footage showed people running out of their houses in panic as buildings shook. Authorities say women and children were among the victims.

Officials said it would take hours to reach many of the hardest-hit areas in the coal mining region. The Pakistan military said its forces and helicopters were helping civilian authorities in carrying out the rescue efforts.

A massive power outage forced rescue workers to use flashlights to treat the injured at hospitals.

The powerful tremors triggered landslides at two places on the main highway linking Quetta to Harnai, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters. 

 

 

 

 

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