QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) – A powerful earthquake rocked a remote mountainous part of southwest Pakistan dotted with coal mines and mud houses on Thursday morning, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 200, a declared an official.
The death toll is expected to rise as officials search the remote mountainous region, said Suhail Anwar Shaheen, the region’s deputy commissioner.
At least four of the dead were killed when the coal mine they were working in collapsed, Shaheen said, citing reports from coal miners in the area.
The epicenter of the 5.7 magnitude quake was about 14 kilometers (8 miles) northeast of Harnai in Balochistan province, according to the US Geological Survey. It struck about 20 kilometers (12 miles) below the surface.
The area, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Quetta, the provincial capital, is dotted with coal mines, causing Shaheen to fear the death toll is rising. It struck early in the morning when dozens of miners were already at work, he said.
Most of the region’s population lives in terracotta houses in the sun, many of which have collapsed. Rescue efforts were underway, but Shaheen said it would take hours to reach most of the hardest hit areas.