Panic grips Kemari as 'poisonous gas' claims two more lives

Sindh CM convenes emergency meeting of key administrative officials

By: Maqbool Ahmad      Published: 12:29 AM, 18 Feb, 2020
Panic grips Kemari as 'poisonous gas' claims two more lives
A big number of gas-affected people was brought to hospital on Sunday evening.–File photo

Two more people fell prey to a ‘poisonous gas’ in Karachi’s Kemari Town late on Monday evening, taking the death toll to eight.

The two victims of the poisonous gas were identified as Imran and Yousaf. Their bodies were shifted to Civil Hospital for post-mortem reports. Also on Monday, eight other people were brought to KPT Hospital with severe breathing problems. 

Panicked people in Kemari Town kept face masks on for the entire day on Monday. Also, schools in the locality remained closed and people stayed indoors.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah convened an emergency meeting of the key administrative officials, including Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Shah, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shallwani and Health Secretary Zahid Ali Abbasi, to discuss the situation.

Six people died and more than 50 were hospitalised after a poisonous gas leak in Karachi’s port area late on Sunday evening. Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Ambulance Service said that gas leak affected several people at the Kemari port and 10 ambulances were sent to the port to shift them to hospital. As most affected people were sent to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and Jinnah Hospital, these health facilities were facing difficulties in finding space for the increasing number of affected people.

Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Zaidi and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident on Sunday evening, but the cause of deaths could not be ascertained. Shah directed the hospital authorities to provide the best treatment facilities to the affected people, while Zaidi said a committee had been set up to investigate the incident.

A spokesperson for the Karachi Port Trust said on Sunday there was no smell of any gas at the port. He said that all affected people were picked from the road. According to the DIG South, a chemical-laden ship arrived at the port shortly before the incident occurred. The Kemari SP said that police and other agencies were investigating the cause of deaths late into Sunday night.

Speaking at a press conference late on Monday evening, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Chairman Jamil Akhtar said illegal commercial activity in the residential area could be the cause of these deaths. He however said that nothing could be said until a final investigation report comes in.