Pakistan: Balochistan Earthquake - DREF Operation n° MDRPK021 Final Report



Description of the disaster

On Thursday 7 October 2021, an earthquake struck Balochistan province near the city of Harnai with a magnitude of 5.9, striking early in the morning around 03:02 am local time when people were fast asleep in their homes. According to PDMA Balochistan, severe damages were reported in the Harnai district and minor damages in the cities of Sibi and Quetta. Adding to the damage, landslides blocked the roads leading to the affected region, due to which rescue, and recovery efforts were severely disrupted. As most of the houses in the affected region were built of mud and stones, there was a sustained risk of complete demolition in case of further aftershocks.
The consecutive aftershocks inflated the traumatic situation in the affected areas; with the risk of damaged houses collapsing. This forced the local population to opt to reside outside in the open air without any shelter at nighttime. According to the district authorities, most fatalities resulted from roofs and walls collapsing. The secondary data reported human and livestock loss, injuries, severely damaged houses, and damage to communication channels, roads and bridges. Moreover, the earthquake killed at least 21 people and injured more than 300. Most of the damage appeared to have affected the Harnai district where around 500 mud houses collapsed, and a large number of buildings were damaged, leaving hundreds of people homeless.
Harnai is a remote district located 168 km from Quetta, Balochistan's provincial capital. The earthquake badly affected the Union Councils (UCs) Saddar 1, and Saddar 2 of district Harnai. Due to the remoteness of the area, authorities faced hurdles in the initial response as some roads were blocked owing to landslides. However, the response to the devastating situation caused by the earthquake was implemented efficiently and all the activities including distribution of Non-Food Items (NFIs), Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities and shelter were completed.
An Emergency Need Assessment (ENA) was conducted as soon as the incident occurred. A planned response action was taken accordingly as per the findings of the ENA which exhibited the immediate needs of the vulnerable individuals affected by the earthquake in district Harnai.