Death toll from rockslide at marble quarry in KP's Mohmand rises to 22

Published September 8, 2020
This picture shows rescue operations underway at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Mohmand district. — DawnNewsTV
This picture shows rescue operations underway at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Mohmand district. — DawnNewsTV

The death toll from a rockslide in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Mohmand district rose to 22 by Tuesday evening after three more bodies were recovered from the rubble by rescue officials.

One person was recovered alive after being buried in the debris for about 25 hours. According to Rescue 1122 director general, search for at least five people is still underway.

Six bodies were pulled out earlier in the day, while two of the injured had passed away.

Army officials participate in a rescue operation in Mohmand. — Photo provided by Sirajuddin
Army officials participate in a rescue operation in Mohmand. — Photo provided by Sirajuddin

In a statement earlier today, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) director general said nine injured had been rescued so far.

A spokesperson for Rescue 1122 Bilal Faizi later said that most of those injured were in a serious condition, adding that two of them died while receiving treatment at Mohmand Hospital. At least five people are still buried beneath the rubble, Faizi said.

"An operation to rescue those trapped underneath the rubble is currently underway. Five ambulances and one recovery vehicle have been sent to Mohmand from Peshawar," according to the PDMA director general.

He added that the authority was closely coordinating with the district administration and the relevant departments.

Between 40 and 50 people were at the site at the time of the collapse which occurred on Monday evening, Tariq Habib, district police chief of Mohmand district told Reuters.

“Usually a large number of people work in these marble mines but luckily a majority had finished work and returned home,” he said.

Meanwhile, PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief over the deaths of people in the incident.

"Hope the government will extend help and financial assistance to the families of the victims in these difficult times," he said in a tweet.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also expressed grief over the lives lost in the incident. He also called upon the provincial government to fulfill its duty by rescuing those trapped underneath the rubble and by providing the injured with medical aid.

"Immediate and effective steps are needed to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future," he said. Bilawal also called upon party workers to assist in the rescue operation.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry added that working conditions for labourers were extremely bad.

"Provincial governments should ensure the strict implementation of labour laws," he said in a tweet, adding that he hoped the KP government would stand with the families of those killed in the incident.

On Monday, huge parts of the famous Ziarat marble mountain in Safi tehsil of Mohmand tribal district fell onto several nearby mines.

Eleven bodies and five injured were pulled out from under the rubble and shifted to Ghalanai Hospital, Rescue 1122 had said in a statement, adding that more people were feared trapped under the debris.

A district administration official had quoted locals as saying that at least 25 people were missing after the rockslide. The remote area does not have mobile and internet coverage, the official had added.

Rescue 1122 had said its Mohmand team was carrying out a search operation to find the missing people, adding that additional personnel had been dispatched to the area from Peshawar and Charsadda

Besides search and rescue tools, heavy machinery and ambulances were taking part in the operation, the rescue service had added.

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