Around 20 people have been killed after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit southern Pakistan in the early hours of Thursday, government officials said.
The quake struck Balochistan at 3am local time and at a depth of around 20km (12 miles), the US Geological Survey said.
Many of the victims died when roofs and walls collapsed, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior provincial government official, told Agence France-Presse.
A woman and six children were among twenty dead, he said.
“We are receiving information that 20 people have been killed due to the earthquake. Rescue efforts are under way,” provincial interior minister Mir Zia ullah Langau added.
Naseer Nasar, the head of Balochistan’s provincial disaster management authority, said that between 15 and 20 people had died, but that the toll may increase.
The worst-affected area was the remote mountainous city of Harnai, in Balochistan, where a lack of paved roads, electricity and mobile phone coverage has hampered the rescue effort.
The earthquake was also felt in Balochistan’s provincial capital, Quetta, which is about 100km west of the epicentre.
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 quake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed almost 400 people across rugged terrain that impeded relief efforts.
The country was also hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005, that killed almost 80,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir