Harnai earthquake death toll rises to 21 – Pakistan

QUETTA: The death toll in the earthquake that shook Harnai on Thursday increased to 21 after one of the injured people succumbed to his wounds, rescue officials revealed Saturday.

A man, 70, who was injured in a house collapse, passed away at the Combined Military Hospital, Quetta, according to the deputy commissioner of Harnai. “The rescue operation is almost complete but teams are still visiting villages in far-off areas.”

The ISPR revealed that around 300 relief packages comprising tents, blankets, and food items have been dispatched to the suffering families.

On Friday, Noor Muhammad Damar, the provincial minister for public health engineering and WASA, said that the death toll in the earthquake is far greater than that stated. The number of injured persons had also been under-reported.

Urging domestic and international agencies to respond immediately, he said that the people in the affected areas needed urgent relief.

Addressing media persons in Quetta, he said that provincial and federal governments should step up efforts for rehabilitating the survivors and providing them with adequate financial aid to help them repair or reconstruct their houses destroyed or damaged in the earthquake.

As many as 200 houses had been destroyed in floods in Harnai, Damar revealed. “The provincial government had announced to pay compensation to owners of all such houses, but survivors were still awaiting payment of compensation.”

The minister added that after making hectic efforts, he had been able to get the provincial government to approve the payment of Rs5,000 per house.

“This is a dismal amount which will achieve nothing. This time around, the survivors need to be paid at least Rs3 million or Rs4 million so that the survivors could begin rebuilding their houses and shops.”

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted Harnai on Thursday at 3am. Epicenter of the earthquake was near Harnai, Balochistan and its depth was 15km. Tremors were also felt in other parts of the province, including Quetta, Pishin, Sibi, Muslimbagh, Killa Abdullah Sanjavi, Zhob, and Chaman.

Roofs of several houses collapsed in Harnai, causing the maximum number of casualties. A power outage struck the area right after the earthquake. An emergency has been imposed at both private and public hospitals in the province.

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