Pakistani residents in the UAE have called the deadly earthquake in southern Pakistan a “great tragedy” and paid tributes to the dead.
The 5.9-magnitude quake rocked the province of Balochistan in the early hours of Thursday, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 200.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said emergency relief plans had been put in place.
“I have ordered immediate assistance on an emergency basis for the Harnai, Balochistan, earthquake victims and for an immediate assessment of the damage for timely relief and compensation. My condolences and prayers go to the families who lost their loved ones,” he said.
Ayesha Sohail, the founder of a Facebook group with thousands of Pakistani followers from the UAE, said that the news was devastating.
She said Balochistan has “some of the loveliest people” and hoped that emergency relief teams could reach them as quickly as possible.
“It is so shocking to learn about the earthquake in Balochistan, which has resulted in the loss of so many precious lives,” said Ms Sohail said, who has been a UAE resident for nearly 30 years.
“My deepest condolences and sympathies go to all the families affected by this tragedy. I’m praying for everyone there.
“It’s a shame what happened. There are so many wonderful people there, and it has such a rich culture and history.”
The earthquake struck Balochistan’s Harnai district, a rural mountainous area with many homes made of mud. Hundreds have been left homeless after their houses collapsed.
Tremors were felt in other parts of the province, including the provincial capital Quetta, Pishin, Ziarat, Qila and Sibbi.
Aziza Fariyal Ali, a marketing director in the UAE, said Harnai does not have “proper infrastructure” and that rescue operations could be difficult.
“I used to live in Sindh, which is next to Balochistan. The area where the epicentre of the earthquake hit is a rural area, so I hope that the rescue teams can reach the people in need on time,” she said.
“Balochistan is a beautiful province of Pakistan and I’m praying that help is delivered as soon as possible. I feel very sad that so many innocent lives were lost."
The province is a focus at the Expo 2020 Dubai’s Pakistan pavilion, where Baloch performers show off folk dancing each night.