9 labourers killed in marble mine slide in KP's Buner

Published February 22, 2020
Rescuers work at the site of the mine collapse. — Photo by author
Rescuers work at the site of the mine collapse. — Photo by author

At least nine labourers were killed and seven others injured in a marble mine slide in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Buner district on Saturday, officials said.

At least 14 other labourers are feared to be trapped under the rubble while a rescue operation is underway to recover them.

According to the KP Relief Department, more than 30 labourers were working at the marble mine in Bampokha village when portions of it collapsed, burying the workers under marble slabs and mounds of earth.

The injured were shifted to Dagger DHQ Hospital, Swat Medical Complex and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

A statement issued by the relief department quoted the Buner district disaster management officer (DDMO) as saying that three injured persons were shifted to Peshawar while received minor injuries.

It said Deputy Commissioner Khalid has contacted the director general mining to dispatch a technical team for the assessment of the area where people are feared to be trapped.

"There is a risk of further sliding because it is the vulnerable area/portion of the mountain ... this could further escalate sliding risk while carrying out the rescue operation," the statement added.

According to the relief department, police personnel, volunteer organisations and local community members are helping with the rescue operation. The requisite machinery and ambulances are also available at the scene.

KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan directed his special assistant Riaz Khan to immediately reach the site of the incident. He directed authorities to speed up efforts to locate the missing labourers.

Khan said the provincial government is "standing with the affected families in this difficult hour".

The Salarzai Bampokha region is rich in marble resources, which are transported to parts of KP in large quantities.

According to locals, these marble mines fulfil about 70 per cent requirement of the rock across the country.

The landowners, leaseholders and agents earn billions of rupees but the labourers are often exposed to threats during mining, locals say.

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