2021 Balochistan earthquake

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2021 Balochistan earthquake
2021 Balochistan earthquake.jpg
2021 Balochistan earthquake is located in Balochistan, Pakistan
2021 Balochistan earthquake
2021 Balochistan earthquake is located in Pakistan
2021 Balochistan earthquake
UTC time2021-10-06 22:01:10
ISC event621126624
Local date7 October 2021 (2021-10-07)
Local time03:01 PKT
Magnitude5.9 Mwb(USGS)[1]
Depth9.0 km (5.6 mi)
Epicenter30°13′12″N 68°00′54″E / 30.220°N 68.015°E / 30.220; 68.015
Max. intensityVII (Very strong)
Aftershocksmb 4.6[2] & 4.5[3]
Casualties26 dead, 300 injured, 15 missing

An earthquake struck Pakistan's province of Balochistan near the city of Harnai on 7 October 2021.[4][5] The moment magnitude 5.9 Mwb  quake struck in the early morning at 03:31 local time, killing at least 26, injuring 300, and leaving 15 missing.[6] The earthquake occurred just one day before the anniversary of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

Tectonic setting

Pakistan is directly influenced by the ongoing oblique convergence between the Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate. Along the northern margin of the India-Eurasia convergent boundary is the Main Himalayan Thrust which accommodates north-south continental collision. Thrust faulting in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya region is the direct result of the plate interaction. In the Balochistan region, the convergence is highly oblique, involving the large Chaman Fault; a left-lateral strike-slip structure. While a large portion of the boundary is accommodated by strike-slip faulting, the region also hosts the Sulaiman fold and thrust belt. Major thrusting and folding have occurred within the ~10-km-thick sedimentary rocks which sits atop the India-Eurasia plate boundary; a near-horizontal, north-dipping décollement.[7][1] The 2005 Kashmir earthquake occurred near the vicinity of the Main Himalayan Thrust. The more recent and larger magnitude 7.7 quake in 2013 in Balochistan was the result of oblique-slip faulting along this highly oblique boundary. That earthquake killed at least 800 and caused major damage in the province. Closer to the region was a Mwc7.1 earthquake in 1997 which struck southeast, killing at least 60 people.[8] That earthquake also had a thrust mechanism but occurred on a blind thrust fault.[7]


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred during the rupture of a thrust fault which is part of the fold and thrust belt under the Sulaiman Mountains and Central Brāhui Range.[1] It was followed by a magnitude 4.6 aftershock. It was the largest earthquake in Pakistan since a major tremor in 2013 which occurred nearby.[9] The earthquake was revised from an initial estimation of 5.7 at 20.8 km depth to 5.9 at 9.0 km.[10] The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences placed the earthquake magnitude at Mw  5.8 at 10 km depth with a moment tensor solution indicating thrust faulting.[11]


Striking early in the morning at just after 03:00 local time, the earthquake collapsed many homes where residents were asleep. According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (PDMA), severe damage was reported in the Harnai District and Shahrag area, where more than 100 mud homes were destroyed.[12][13] Damage was also reported in the cities of Sibi and Quetta.[14] Provincial Minister Mir Ziaullah Langau said landslides have blocked roads leading to the affected region, disrupting rescue and recovery efforts.[10] The majority of homes in the affected region are constructed of mud and stone, making them more vulnerable to collapse or severe damage from earthquakes. The Deputy Commissioner at Government of Balochistan, Suhail Anwar Hashmi said that most of the fatalities resulted from roof and wall collapses.[10]

According to geologist Sotiris Valkaniotis, the quake triggered at least 116 landslides, based on inferring satellite imagery from Sentinel-2.[15]


At least 26 people died, mostly women and children.[6] An unspecified number of residents were buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings and rescued by survivors. About 300 people were injured, with many hospitals in Balochistan overwhelmed by the influx of patients. Ten injured individuals, mostly men and elders were airlifted to Quetta.[16]

On the afternoon the same day of the disaster, funerals were held for those who had died. The district hospital in Harnai received 15 dead bodies and many severely injured children. Many of the patients were treated outside the hospital building due to overcapacity. Four deaths were coal miners working when their mine collapsed. In another instance, a mother and her two children were killed in their sleep when their home collapsed. Another girl, aged eight, was found lifeless under the wreckage.[17] Six children were among the dead, including a one-year-old infant.[18][19]

Dozens of coal miners in Balochistan are also reportedly missing, presumably trapped. According to the Deputy Commissioner of Harnai, 15 miners are unaccounted for outside the city. Rescue workers were sent to search for the missing.[20]

By 9 October, 33 injured people were getting treatment for their injuries at the Sandeman Provincial Hospital in Quetta. Some victims were taken to the trauma center for their severe injuries.[21]

On 10 October, an aftershock measuring magitude 4.5 shook Harnai, injuring six people. The injured individuals were transported to a local hospital where they were treated.[22]


Following the quake, troops from the Pakistan Army were dispatched to Harnai to aid in rescue and relief operations. At least nine injured victims in need of medical treatment were transported via helicopters from the affected region to Quetta.[23] The Inter-Services Public Relations, army, medical personnel, response workers, and officials are working together to coordinate the rescue and relief works. A team of search and rescue individuals from Rawalpindi was sent to Harnai to find survivors among the wreckage.[24]

Provincial officials in Balochistan announced that 200,000 Pakistani rupees (approximately 1,170 US dollars) would be compensated to the families of each deceased individual.[25] Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani physician, was to pay a visit to the affected area on instructions by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, where she would meet the victims and provide relief.[26] Relief workers guided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement were dispatched to the province to provide medical assistance. Residents who were homeless after the quake were housed in tents and provided basic needs.[21] Despite the supplies given, many residents were still complaining that they are insufficient. Officials said that the delivery of supplies are delayed due to landslides and that the areas are not easily accessible.[27]

A relief package of 12,000 Pakistani rupees was approved by the government of Pakistan and is planned to be distributed to each affected family. The package would be distributed to the families Ehsaas Programme. Food trucks arrived in Harnai on October 11, supplying food for survivors.[28] The Pakistan Army and Air Force, together with the district administration distributed tents and food to over 500 individuals. The army also conducted building inspections. Medical tents setup by the army has treated at least 3,000 people.[29]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "M 5.9 – 15 km NNE of Harnai, Pakistan". United States Geological Survey. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  2. "M 4.6 – 9 km E of Harnai, Pakistan". earthquake.usgs.gov. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  3. "M 4.5 - 5 km S of Harnai, Pakistan". earthquake.usgs.gov. U.S. Geological Survey. 10 October 2021. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  4. "At least 20 killed as 5.9-magnitude earthquake rocks parts of Balochistan". Dawn. 7 October 2021.
  5. "Balochistan: A severe earthquake in Harnai area, 18 people killed" (in Urdu). BBC Urdu. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "ایک اور زلزلہ: ٹھوس فیصلے ناگزیر" [Another earthquake: concrete decisions inevitable] (in Urdu). Dunya News. Retrieved 7 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kirsty Reynolds; Alex Copley; Ekbal Hussain (2015). "Evolution and dynamics of a fold-thrust belt: the Sulaiman Range of Pakistan". Geophysical Journal International. 201 (2): 683–710. doi:10.1093/gji/ggv005.
  8. "M 7.1 – 29 km ESE of Harnai, Pakistan". earthquake.usgs.gov. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  9. agencies, Guardian staff and (2021-10-07). "Pakistan earthquake: at least 20 dead after powerful 5.7 magnitude tremor". the Guardian (in English). Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Asad Hashim. "At least 20 dead as houses collapse in Pakistan earthquake" (in English). Quetta, Pakistan. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  11. "GEOFON Program". geofon.gfz-potsdam.de. GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  12. Muhammad Zubair Khan (7 October 2021). "بلوچستان، ہرنائی میں زلزلہ: پاکستان کے کون سے علاقے زلزلے کے زیادہ خطرے کی زد میں ہیں؟" [Earthquake in Balochistan, Harnai: Which areas of Pakistan are most at risk of earthquakes?]. BBC Urdu. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  13. "Terrible earthquake in different parts of Balochistan, 20 people killed, 300 injured" (in Urdu). Aaj TV. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  14. "Shahbaz Sharif is deeply saddened by the loss of precious lives due to the earthquake" (in Urdu). Daily Jang. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  15. Sotiris Valkaniotis (9 October 2021). "#Landslides (red dots) triggered by the Mw 5.9 #earthquake east of Quetta, Pakistan – mapped using Copernicus #Sentinel2 imagery. Not any major concentration, but they spread over a 20x40 km area. 1/2". Twitter. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  16. "ہرنائی زلزلہ، شدید زخمی ہیلی کاپٹر سے کوئٹہ منتقل" [Harnai earthquake, critically injured transferred to Quetta by helicopter]. Daily Jang. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  17. Gannon, Kathy; Sattar, Abdul (7 October 2021). "Strong earthquake in southwest Pakistan kills at least 23". Associated Press. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  18. "22 killed, over 300 injured in earthquake in Pakistan's Balochistan province" (in English). Karachi, Pakistan. The Times of India. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  19. "ہرنائی زلزلہ، ایک سالہ بچے کی لاش نکالتے غمزدہ باپ بے ہوش" [Harnai earthquake, sad father faints while removing body of one year old child]. Daily Jang. Agence France Presse. 8 October 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  20. "Balochistan earthquake, 15 miners trapped in a coal mine" (in Urdu). news.com.pk. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Mohammad Zafar (9 October 2021). "Harnai quake death toll reaches 26". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  22. "سبی اور ہرنائی میں زلزلہ،6افرادزخمی" [Earthquake in Sibi and Harnai, 6 injured]. Samaa TV. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  23. "Relief activities in the quake affected areas of Harnai, Pakistan Army troops reached" (in Urdu). Aaj TV. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  24. "Pak Army troops reach quake-hit areas in Balochistan". HUM News. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  25. "Harnai earthquake, Rs 2.2 aid announced for the families of the victims" (in Urdu). Samaa TV. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  26. "On the directive of the Prime Minister, Dr Sania Nishtar will pay an emergency visit to Harnai district of Balochistan on Saturday". 8 October 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  27. "Many quake victims in Harnai are still waiting for help". Geo News Urdu. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  28. "بلوچستان کے زلزلہ سے متاثرہ ضلع ہرنائی کے ہر خاندان کو 12 ہزار روپے کی امداد دی جائے گی، ڈاکٹر ثانیہ نشتر" [Rs 12,000 will be given to every family in Harnai district affected by Balochistan earthquake: Dr Sania Nishtar]. urdu.app.com.pk. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  29. "ہرنائی؛زلزلہ سے متاثرہ 500خاندانوں میں ٹینٹ ،آٹا اور ضروری اشیاء خوردنوش تقسیم" [Harnai: Tents, flour and food items distributed to 500 earthquake-affected families]. Associated Press of Pakistan. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.

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