SUKKUR: Eleven people, including women and children, were killed and 12 others suffered injuries when the roof of a warehouse collapsed with a big bang in Agha Qadir Dad dates market of Rohri on Wednesday.
The victims were labourers and their children who were trapped under the debris.
Sukkur Division Commissioner Dr Muhammad Usman Chachar, Deputy Commissioner Raheem Bux Maitlo, Sukkur SSP Amjad Shaikh, chairman district council Muhammad Aslam Shaikh and deputy mayor Tariq Chohan and other officials reached the spot after the incident.
A state of emergency was declared in all hospitals of Sukkur and Rohri while police and Rangers cordoned off the area. Personnel of the army, Rangers, police and Edhi volunteers took part in the rescue activities.
Bodies of the victims were pulled out from under the rubble of the warehouse using cranes.
According to Rohri Assistant Commissioner Awais Mushtaq, eleven persons had died in the incident so far.
Ten bodies which could be identified included three men: Abdul Waheed, Lalu, Bahadur; six women: Bashiran, wife of Abdul Qayoom Shar, Lal Bai, Mai Roozan, Mai Basheera, Mukhtiaran, wife of Rasool Bux Khoso; and Rozan Khoso; and two-year-old girl Sanam, daughter of Allah Jurio.
The injured were taken to Rohri taluka hospital and civil hospital in Sukkur.
According to Commissioner Muhammad Usman Chachar, the incident took place due to a boiler explosion.
As per the directives of the Sindh water commission chairman, he said, boilers of all factories were sealed. The warehouse where the incident took place was being used illegally and a First Information Report would be lodged against those responsible for the tragedy, the commissioner added.
He said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was in contact and was making efforts for payment of compensation to the victims of the tragedy.
The rescue work continued till late in the night.
A large number of men and women labourers along with their children were working in the warehouse to wash, clean and dry dates, and process them in the market for use.
According to sources, these poor quality dates could not be originally sold in the market and were used for donkeys. The stock was bought to the factories of the Rohri market where by use of different chemicals it was boiled in high steam to increase its size. The dates were sold after colour being added to them.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2018