Friday, 6 November 2015

Death toll from Lahore factory collapse rises to 35

The bodies of two more labourers were recovered from under the rubble at the site of a collapsed factory at the Sundar Industrial Estate near Lahore on Friday, as the death toll from the tragedy rose to at least 35, officials said.

Rescue officials said over a hundred survivors had so far been pulled from the wreckage of the four-storeyed Rajput Polyester factory, which manufactured polythene shopping bags about 45 km south of the eastern city of Lahore, and collapsed on Wednesday night.

35 bodies have now been recovered by rescue crews using heavy construction machinery and other tools to dig through the debris, rescue official said.

Efforts were still underway on Friday, the third day of the search and rescue operation, to clear the debris and look for any survivors or bodies of the victims.

No part of the four-storey building remained standing after the disaster, leaving dozens of workers trapped under the debris. It was unclear how many people were in the building when it collapsed or how many – dead or alive – may still be trapped.

Officials feared that between 35 to 40 persons may still be trapped under the wreckage of the factory.

"There are less chances of finding more injured under the rubble but we are looking for dead bodies," Arshad Zia, head of rescue services in Punjab, told news agency AFP.

Soldiers and rescuers were preparing to clear the rubble in front of the factory and move towards the rear of the building where they fear they will discover more victims.

Injured survivors said the factory's owner, who was adding a new floor to the building, had ignored advice from his contractor and pleas from his workers to stop construction after cracks in the walls following a powerful earthquake last week.

The quake of magnitude 7.5 killed more than 300 people in Pakistan and the northern parts of neighbouring Afghanistan and damaged thousands of buildings.

Pakistan's construction sector is plagued by poor oversight and developers frequently flout building codes. In September 2012, 289 people burned to death in a fire at a garment factory in Karachi. On the same day, a fire at a shoe factory in Lahore killed 25.

Friday 6 November 2015


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