BUILDINGS like this with bits having already fallen in Lyari may cause more tragedies if the authorities do not take care of them soon enough. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
BUILDINGS like this with bits having already fallen in Lyari may cause more tragedies if the authorities do not take care of them soon enough. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The death toll in the Lyari building collapse tragedy reached 19 as rescue workers pulled 13 more bodies from the rubble on Tuesday, officials said.

Moreover, there are fears that more people may be trapped under the debris.

The rescue operation, which the authorities earlier claimed would be completed in 24 hours, continued till late Tuesday evening.

“Total 19 bodies have been recovered and all of them were moved to the Civil Hospital Karachi where their families have identified them,” said DIG-South Sharjeel Kharal.

However, there was no word from the authorities about the expected time of completion of the operation to remove the rubble and then demolish other vulnerable structures in the same neighbourhood.

Area people and legislators, mostly from the opposition parties in Sindh, had claimed that 27 people were inside the building at the time of its collapse and they were missing following the incident.

“The local administration and all other relevant authorities are well aware of this fact. The ill-prepared civic administration and narrow lanes of the area make things difficult,” said an area resident.

The office of the Sindh police surgeon identified 17 bodies as that of 50-year-old Fahmida, Faheem, 32, Salma, 45, Jamila, 35, Siraj, 30, Noor Mohammad alias Babu, 50, Shahid, 30, Maryam, 11, Shehnaz, 45, Memona, 25, Shahzad, 20, Saeed, 26, Taufiq, 55, Bahar, 25, Kaleem Ahmed, 60, Saleem alias Sani, 30, and Shaukat, 30.

Two bodies are yet to be identified.

Meanwhile, a meeting at the office of the Karachi commissioner decided to lodge cases across the city against illegal constructions.

Sindh Minister for Information and Local Government Syed Nasir Hussain Shah while chairing the meeting said that the government would not allow anyone to play with the lives of citizens and no compromise would be made.

He asked the Sindh Building Control Authority chief, Naseem ul Ghani, to identify illegal structures in the city and lodge FIRs against builders concerned.

“The commissioner briefed the minister that the SBCA had issued notices to the residents of dangerous buildings for immediate evacuation. The DG-SBCA informed the minister that most of the dangerous buildings are in Old City Area and few of them have been declared as heritage,” the statement said.

The minster ordered a vigilance committee in every district for identification of dangerous and illegal buildings in their area.

The committee would be consisting of representatives from district municipal corporations, SBCA, Karachi Development Authority and police.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2020