The 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck as most residents of the Harnai district, about 100km (60 miles) east of the provincial capital Quetta, were asleep at just past 3am local time (22:00 GMT) on Thursday, according to United States Geological Survey data. The tremor took place at a depth of about 20 kilometres (12 miles).
“Rescue officials have reached the scene and are working,” Osama bin Ijaz, a provincial disaster management official, told media. A survey of the damage to the houses and other buildings in Harnai was ongoing, he said.
Pakistan’s military said some rescuers had reached earthquake-hit areas of Harnai and nine of the critically injured had been airlifted to Quetta.
Necessary items for food and shelter, as well as army doctors and paramedics were helping civilian officials provide care to those affected by the disaster, the military said in a statement, adding that an urban search and rescue team was being flown from Rawalpindi to speed up and assist in rescue activities
Many of the victims died when roofs and walls collapsed, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior provincial government official, told the media.
A woman and six children were among the dead, he said.
Sanaullah, a survivor of the earthquake, said his mother was admitted to Quetta’s Civil Hospital, where some of the injured were being treated.