The death toll from the July 8 cylinder blast in Panr reached 13 on Wednesday, after two more injured victims breathed their last.
A leaked cylinder exploded in a shop at Labour Colony, initially killing two people and injuring 22 others. All victims with critical injuries were taken to Peshawar for treatment as there is no burns unit at Swat’s Saidu Teaching Hospital.
Families of the victims say that although nearly 10 days have passed since the fatal accident, they have not received any assistance from government authorities.
Residents said workers from various political parties visited the victims and expressed their sympathies, but no member of the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had so far approached them.
“We are treating our children from our own expenses,” said Bahadar, father of two injured victims.
“This is a very big incident which killed 13 people and injured many others who are undergoing treatment, but the provincial government has not even bothered to express condolences with bereaved families,” said Sadiq, a social activist and resident of Panr.
Civil Society members and locals of the area have demanded Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak to extend financial assistance to all victims of the blast if he is unable to personally visit them.
“The government always announces a financial package after the incident but we do not understand the policies of this government. If the CM or any other government official cannot visit the victims, they should at least provide financial aid,” said resident Izhar Khan.
MPA Fazal Hakim Khan told The Express Tribune they were in touch with the labour ministry in this regard. “I am sure the funds will be released very soon,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.
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