Initial reports say at least 20 people dead after magnitude 5.7 quake strikes east of Quetta.

At least 20 people have been killed after an earthquake hit southern Pakistan in the early hours of Thursday morning, disaster management officials said.

Many of the victims died when roofs and walls collapsed, Suhail Anwar Hashmi, a senior provincial government official, told the AFP news agency.

A woman and six children were among the 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.

Suhail Anwar Shaheen, the deputy commissioner for the area, told the Associated Press that at least 200 people had been hurt and he expected the death toll to rise.

The earthquake struck at about 3am (22:00 GMT), as many people were sleeping, close to Harnai, a remote, mountainous city about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the city of Quetta, Balochistan’s provincial capital, which is near to the Afghanistan border.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) recorded the earthquake at a magnitude of 5.7, upgraded from an earlier magnitude of 5.4.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 5.7 and a depth of about 20 kilometres (12 miles).

Pakistan is susceptible to earthquakes as it straddles the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.

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