Factory Collapse: 20 Killed, Hundreds Yet to be Rescued from Rubble
LAHORE: Rescuers still struggle as a factory roof caved-on Wednesday killing at least twenty people in the industrial area of Lahore.
The incident occurred in a three-storey building of a shopping bag manufacturing factory in Sundar Industrial Estate when its under-construction roof collapsed.
Rescue Teams from across Pakistan endeavor to retrieve hundred that still remain under the rubble.
So far it has been reported that 78 people have been rescued among which 51 were sent to the hospital. The injured labourers, some of them critical, were shifted to Jinnah Hospital and Sharif Hospital where they received emergency medical treatment.
Army teams reached the site and carried out search and rescue operation alongside the city administration teams.
The owner of the factory, Muhammad Ashraf, was inside the factory when the incident happened and his body along with his manager has been recovered from the debris.
The DCO Lahore said that the actual number of casualties will be ascertained once the rescue operation is completed. He, however, claimed that all available resources are being utilised to carry out the rescue and relief operation.
Eye witnesses said they could hear screams for help from under the collapsed structure, though heavy machinery deployed, scores are yet to be rescued.
Process to include machine utility is minimized to ensure laborers safety under the rubble, said one of the rescue officials.
Three cranes, a bulldozer and more than 40 emergency rescue vehicles were working at the site, a rescue official said.
But provincial spokesman Zaeem Qadri told reporters that progress was slow because the factory was at the end of a narrow lane making it difficult for excavators to reach the site.
He added that an emergency has been declared at all local hospitals.
Several labourers told news channels that the building had developed cracks during the quake, but the factory's owner pressed ahead with construction of a fourth storey.
“We told the owner to build additional pillars before beginning the fourth floor but he took no notice of it,” one labourer said.
A labourer, Rafique said that they were busy in construction work on the fourth floor when the building collapsed.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited the site and said it was possible the building had been damaged after the October 26 earthquake.
He announced a compensation of Rs0.5 million for the heirs of the labourers who died in this unfortunate accident.
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