Karachi building collapse leaves 14 dead in Pakistan
A five-storey residential building collapsed in Karachi’s Golimar neighbourhood in Liaquatabad Town, Pakistan, on Thursday, 5 March 2020, causing three adjacent buildings to partially collapse and killing 27 people, with 51 injured. Rescue officials said on Sunday, 8 March 2010, that it was unlikely that any more people were still under the rubble. Almost 95 percent of the debris has been removed and all people have been recovered. In total, "27 people died and 51 were injured," the official confirmed. It took four days for the debris to be removed completely. An Edhi Welfare Organisation spokesperson explained that the area was congested so more heavy machinery could not be brought in to help with rescue efforts. A rescue team of the Pakistan Army had cordoned off the area while the operation was underway. "We used the latest machinery to prioritise retrieving people," he added. Rescue officers explained that the building had collapsed due to a weak base and over-construction and that the building that fell first impacted three others near it. On Saturday, 7 March 2020 three bodies, including that of 24-year-old Tariq Ali, Nayab Ali and a third who could not be identified at the time, were recovered on the third day of the rescue operation in the affected area. The rescue operation continued for a fourth consecutive day on Sunday, with authorities barring families of the missing from going near the building as they continued to look for their loved ones.
The building, according to Sindh Building Control Authority’s (SBCA’s) director for shanty town housing, Muhammad Raqeeb, was constructed in a well-planned area, which cannot be considered a shanty town. The first building that collapsed, according to the SBCA, was built some 25 years ago. A clinic had been functional on the ground floor of the building. The building first tilted and damaged a three-storey residential building constructed adjacent to it, which then damaged another neighbouring two-storey residential building. An additional sixth storey was being constructed over the first building when it collapsed, SBCA's additional director, Ashkar Dawar, told media.
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 before the incident, on Tuesday, 3 March 2020, 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.
Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah assured that strict action would be taken against illegal buildings, saying Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had taken notice of the event and sought a report of the incident from Commissioner Karachi, as well as other relevant officers of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA). The provincial minister had added the Sindh government was monitoring the treatment of the injured and was ensuring that the injured were receiving the best treatment possible.
This was the second such incident in the port city in less than 30 days, bringing into question the role of the 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 an 80-square-yard plot in Lyari’s Usmanabad had developed cracks before tilting dangerously.
A first information report (FIR) had been registered at the Rizvia Police Station regarding the incident. According to the report, the police received information about the incident at 12h25 on Thursday, 5 March 2020. Clauses related to negligence and damage to people's life and property have been added to the FIR.
Source: Geo News and Aljazeera