The death toll reached to 17 as six more bodies were pulled out of the Moosa Lane’s collapsed building in Lyari, Karachi on Saturday night.
The rescue operation continues as 15-18 more people are still believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Updated from print version (below)
Lyari building tragedy: 21 people pulled out of the rubble but 11 don’t make it
A teary-eyed old man sat at the corner of the street in Lyari where a building caved in a day earlier. His head was buried in his wrinkled hands and his mouth moved in prayer. Each time a rescue worker walked by, he would look up.
“Did you find them? If anyone in there is alive... is there any one alive? Did you find more bodies?” For many families it was too late - at least 11 people more were declared dead - and for others it was a day of miraculous recovery. Twenty-one people were pulled out alive.
A heavy-duty yellow Volvo excavator with teeth to remove the wreckage tried to clear the way. Armed Army jawans stood by the entrance of the street where Qasr-e-Rukaiyya once stood.
Mohammad Saleem was leading the Army Engineering Corp. “While drilling in search for the lost people we found three bodies at around 4:10 pm on Friday,” he said. “Two of them are women and one was a boy, around 10 years old.”
They could not use a grinder because the building next door is at risk of collapse. They focussed instead on using gas welding and steel cutting instruments.
Lyari’s town administration staff worked along with Pakistan Peoples Party jiyalas but the main work was done by the Army’s Engineering Corp. “It was only due to their discipline and professional attitude that this work has been done so quickly,” said Abdul Jabbar, who lives next to Qasr-e-Rukaiyya.
CDGK mini trucks kept loading the debris and ferried them from the spot. The street where Qasr-e-Rukaiyya was built has many other buildings like Iqbal mentions, Amina Tahir, Khan Kandahar and many others of the same pattern and almost the same age with the same structure built on the mud and sewerage lines.
Names of victims
1. Millaaan w/o Haris
2. Zareen w/o Muhammad Sadeeq
3. Imran s/o Haji Usman
5. Muhammad Jaffar
7. Hawwa Amma
11. Roshan bibi
Mr & Mrs Arsalan
Syed Abdul Aziz
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.