Strong earthquake in southwestern Pakistan kills at least 11

A powerful earthquake has shaken a remote mountainous part of southwestern Pakistan filled with coal mines and mud houses

QUETTA, Pakistan – A powerful earthquake early Thursday shook a remote mountainous part of southwestern Pakistan filled with coal mines and mud houses, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 200, an official said.

The death toll is expected to rise as officials search through the remote mountainous area, said Suhail Anwar Shaheen, deputy commissioner for the area.

At least four of the dead were killed when the coal mine where they worked collapsed, Shaheen said, referring to reports from coal miners in the area.

The epicenter of the magnitude 5.7 earthquake was about 14 kilometers north-northeast of Harnai in Baluchistan province, according to the US Geological Survey. It hit about 20 kilometers (12 miles) below the surface.

The area, about 100 kilometers from Quetta, the provincial capital, is filled with coal mines, which has made Shaheen worried that the death toll could rise. It hit early in the morning while lots of miners were already at work, he said.

The majority of the population in the area live in sun-baked mud houses, many of which collapsed. Rescue efforts were underway, but Shaheen said it would take hours just to reach many of the hardest-hit areas.

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