US deputy secretary of state heading to earthquake-hit Pakistan

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Diplomat says she will carry ‘sincere condolences of the American people to the people of Pakistan’

WASHINGTON (AA) – US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will depart for Pakistan late Thursday after a deadly earthquake hit the country’s southwest.

“I am heartbroken to learn of the deadly earthquake that struck southwest Pakistan early this morning. I am flying to Islamabad tonight, and will carry with me the sincere condolences of the American people to the people of Pakistan,” said Sherman.

At least 20 people were killed and more than 300 injured when a magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck Baluchistan province.

The quake was centered about 14 kilometers (9 miles) north northeast of Harnai. The location is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Quetta, the provincial capital.

According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, a rescue and relief operation is underway.

Baluchistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said residents are being evacuated by government departments along with support from the army and security forces.

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