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Pakistan

Web Desk
March 6, 2020

18 die in Karachi buildings collapse

Pakistan

Web Desk
Fri, Mar 06, 2020
Rescue workers retrieving trapped people from Golimar building. Photo Sohail Rafiq

The death toll after multiple residential buildings collapsed in Karachi’s Golimar area on Thursday had risen to 18 by the following day, with rescue efforts continue to retrieve any survivors still stuck under the rubble.

According to a Geo News report, rescue teams had retrieved seven more dead bodies from the rubble since last night.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Central) Arif Aslam Rao has said that the rescue operation has been slow as they fear that there are more people stuck in the rubble.

He added that the rubble has to be moved carefully as they believe nearby buildings may also collapse.

“The nearby buildings have been vacated as well due to this situation,” said SSP Rao. He added that the rescue operation was also facing difficulties due to narrow streets and may continue throughout the day.

The operation team includes officials from the district and city governments, Pakistan Army, Sindh Rangers, police, fire brigade, Edhi foundation, Chippa Welfare and others.

This is the second such incident in the port-city in a span of less than 30 days, bringing into question the role of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), which seems to have failed in controlling the mushrooming growth of hazardous and illegally-built structures in the metropolis.

Earlier, in February, a ground-plus-five storey residential building constructed on 80-square-yard plot in Lyari’s Usmanabad had developed cracks before tilting dangerously.

Meanwhile, Minister for Local Government Nasir Hussain Shah has assured that strict action will be taken against illegal buildings. He said that at this point, all focus was on the rescue operation and extracting the people stuck under the rubble.

Case registered

An FIR has been registered at the Rizvia Police Station regarding the incident. According to the FIR, the police received information of the incident at 12:25pm on Thursday. Clauses related to negligence and damage to people's life and property have been added to the FIR.

How it happened

On Thursday morning, the five-storey residential building, 400 Quarter, located in Golimar Number 2, had caved.

The building, according to SBCA’s director Katchi Abadi, Muhammad Raqeeb, was constructed in a well-planned area, which cannot be considered a Katchi Abadi.

The first building which collapsed, according to the SBCA, was built some 25 years ago. A homeopathic clinic had been functional on the ground floor of the building.

The building first tilted and damaged a three-floor residential building constructed adjacent to it, which then damaged another neighbouring two-floor residential building.

An additional sixth floor was being constructed over the first building when it collapsed, SBCA's Additional Director, Ashkar Dawar, told The News.

He had added that one of the major reasons for the building's collapse seemed to be the inadequate drainage of sewage water in the vicinity.

The first building to collapse, Dawar said, had been constructed illegally on an 80-yard plot.

Talking to the media, he said that such buildings continue to be constructed throughout the city.

“We demolish two buildings, and 10 more are erected behind our backs,” he said, adding that the menace of illegal buildings is spreading in the city rapidly.

The SBCA's inspectors are responsible for monitoring such constructions across the city.

“They must inspect and report to the building authority,” he said, adding that he has already fired the deputy and assistant directors of the SBCA of Liaquatabad Town, where the incident occurred.

Just two days prior to the incident, on Tuesday, the Sindh government had suspended 28 employees of the SBCA over corruption charges.

The development was confirmed in a press release from Sindh Local Government Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh, according to which the SBCA officials had unlawfully authorised illegal constructions.