Day of mourning observed in Paretabad as cylinder blast death toll reaches nine

Published June 2, 2024
Scenes of a fire at a cylinder shop in Hyderabad on Thursday. — Umair Ali
Scenes of a fire at a cylinder shop in Hyderabad on Thursday. — Umair Ali

HYDERABAD: A day of mourning was observed in Paretabad on Saturday and almost all shops in bazaars, streets and even in bylanes remained shuttered as death toll from the cylinder blast and fire incident rose to nine.

Eight patients with severe burns were still in critical condition at the intensive care unit (ICU) in Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital in Karachi.

Many residents of the area wore black armbands to mark the mourning day and heirs of some of the victims held Quran khawani on main road. The 35-year-old Zulfikar and 10-year-old Azaan, who had 98pc and 100pc burns, respectively, who breathed their last at Dr Ruth Pfau hospital, were laid to rest in local graveyard amid sobs and tears.

There was initially utter confusion about number of the injured and the dead with Sindh Assembly member from the area Nasir Qureshi mistakenly putting the number of the deceased at eight yesterday. “I had mistakenly counted two-year-old Ali Raza son of Bilal among the eight dead although he was still on ventilator [in Karachi],” he said.

So, with the two deaths on Friday the toll rose to nine on Saturday.

Ten patients admitted to Civil Hospital Hyderabad’s burns ward were in stable condition, according to doctors. Survivors with severe burns were admitted either to Patel Hospital Karachi or CHK and were said to be in critical state, said family sources.

According to Hyderabad deputy commissioner, Zainul Abideen Memon, 29 patients, in all, were referred to CHK and Patel Hospital following the tragedy. Of the 23 patients in CHK, nine had succumbed to their injuries so far since Thursday and 18 were still critical condition in the two hospitals.

Eight fire survivors were admitted to ICU including two-year-old Haram son of Ashraf, four-year-old Ali Raza son of Bilal, five-year-old Kinza daughter of Zeeshan, Abbas Ali son of Mubarak, 14; Akram Shah, 40; Dodo Mehar, 25; Raees, 35, and Alisha daughter of Zeeshan.

Besides, condition of another six, including Faizan son of Ashraf, Aliya daughter of Farrukh, 6; Akram son of Munshi, Faizan son of Ishaq, 32; Ashraf son of Hussain, 35, and Umair son of Arshad, 15, was said to be serious.

Among the six admitted to Patel Hospital, four were in critical condition. They were; Altaf Ahmed, 65; Hasnain Shah, 12; Ajmal Ali, 13, and Mahnoor daughter of Habib, 8.

HCCI, AT leaders visit bereaved families

Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Adeel Siddiqui met bereaved family members of children who had died since Thursday evening following the blast and regretted that the nonexistence of an efficient fire-fighting system had led to rise in the number of deaths in the cylinder blast.

He said that this inefficient firefighting system could not cater to the needs of the citizens. “Many lives could have been saved,” he lamented.

A delegation of Qaumi Awami Tehreek led by the party’s deputy secretary general Altaf Khaskheli, Sindhiani Tehreek president Zeenat Sammu, Nusrat Khaskheli and others also visited bereaved family members of the fire victims to express their condolences, said a press release.

MQM demands compensation for fire victims

Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Ali Khurshidi told journalists after attending the funeral of a child who died in the gas cylinder explosion in Paretabad on Thursday that he was trying to contact the chief minister for last two days but he was not ready to speak to him.

He said that the CM even did not visit victims’ families to offer condolences. Each injured should be paid Rs5m, he said.

He said the Hyderabad mayor should behave like a mayor of the entire Hyderabad and demanded his resignation.

MQM central leader Hyder Abbas Rizvi said that Ogra should ensure enforcement of protocols required for regulating this sector.

He said that only 40pc had access to piped gas while 60pc people in the country were depended on these cylinders. Nobody knew who was manufacturing these cylinders and who was checking their quality.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2024

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