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At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

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At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

Post  Panda on Wed 12 Sep - 10:05

Dozens Killed In Pakistan Factory Fires


At least 128 people are killed as fires destroy factories in two of Pakistan's largest cities.


9:15am UK, Wednesday 12 September 2012



Video: At Least 128 Die In Karachi Fire
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Grief-stricken relatives mourn fire victims








At least 103 people have been killed after a fire broke out in a clothes factory in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

The head of the emergency department at the Civil Hospital, Tariq Kamal Ayubi, said that the bodies were being taken to the hospital and many were so badly burned that it was impossible to tell whether they were male or female.

Firefighter chief Ehtisham-ud-Din said most of the garment factory deaths were caused by suffocation as people caught in the basement were unable to escape.

The fire in Karachi, Pakistan's economic heart, was one of two deadly blazes to erupt in the country on Tuesday.

Karachi's chief fire officer Ehtishamuddin Siddiqui said he feared the factory could collapse at any time as the first floor had been gutted.
There are fears the death toll will rise
Local resident Mohammad Ishaq, who witnessed the blaze, said some people fell from the top floor.

"I was watching the stranded people. The fire was raging and people were falling (from the top floor). People who gathered there were trying their level best," he said.

"They put up a ladder. Some people came down the ladder. Others fell."

Rescue officials said the death toll could rise as some people could still be trapped inside.

The other fire, at a shoe factory in the eastern city of Lahore, killed 25 people. The factory is thought to have been illegally set up in a residential part of the city.

It broke out when people in the building were trying to start their generator after the electricity went out.

Sparks from the generator made contact with chemicals used to make the shoes, igniting the blaze. Pakistan faces widespread blackouts, and many people use generators to provide electricity for their houses or to run businesses.

A firefighter at the scene, Numan Noor, said the reason most of the victims died was because the main escape route was blocked.

"The people went to the back side of the building but there was no access, so we had to make forceful entries and ... rescue the people," said Mr Noor.

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Re: At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

Post  Panda on Wed 12 Sep - 15:57

September 2012 Last updated at 13:39

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Death toll from Karachi factory fire soars





The factory fire was Pakistan's worst in many years

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At least 246 people have died in a fire at a garment factory in Karachi, officials say, in one of Pakistan's worst ever industrial accidents.

Many others were injured in the inferno which raged for 15 hours overnight.

Hundreds were trapped inside - the building had metal grilles on the windows and no fire exits. Many workers jumped from the upper floors.

Some 40 firefighting vehicles were needed to tackle the blaze. Rescuers have spent the day recovering bodies.

There are reports of people trapped inside frantically ringing their friends and relatives as flames engulfed the building.

The fire broke out hours after another blaze at a shoe factory in Lahore killed at least 25 people.

Investigations have been announced into both fires. Reports say they may have been caused by faulty electricity generators.
'Intense heat'
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Analysis


Syed Shoaib Hasan BBC News, Karachi



It is not just textile mills - industries across Pakistan are increasingly prone to disaster. Sometimes it is the collapse of poorly constructed premises - but fires remain the main danger.

In general, the problem is the same that plagues all matters of governance in Pakistan - enforcement of the law. Industrial standards are disregarded to minimise cost as inspectors are paid to look the other way.

Textile factories are particularly at risk because of the lethal combination of chemical dyes and stacks of cotton often stored next to each other - ensuring a deadly result.

Fire exits - as in the case of the factory in Karachi - exist only on paper, a factor in raising casualty figures. The city administration itself has a limited number of fire engines to serve the growing needs of an increasingly sprawling metropolis.

What is generally a small and controllable mistake is made worse by years of official disregard for workers' safety. That in turn produces such tragedies - which are then covered up, only to be repeated a few months later.

In Karachi, the building was still smouldering on Wednesday as rescuers pulled out the bodies of those who had been trapped inside. Provincial Health Minister Sagheer Ahmad said the number of dead had now risen to 246.

"These are not the exact figures as rescue work is still ongoing," he told reporters.

Karachi fire chief Ehtesham Salim said: "We found people who died because of suffocation caused by the highly toxic smoke. They died first and then their bodies were burned by the raging fire."

Workers had little time to escape from the four-storey building's single exit - many could do so only by jumping from the windows. At least 65 employees are reported to have suffered from broken bones.

"People started screaming for their lives," one survivor, Mohammad Asif, told Reuters news agency. "Everyone came to the window. I jumped from the third floor."

As the full horror of the blaze unfolded, shouting and sobbing relatives of trapped workers scuffled with police while rescuers battled to gain access to the roof and the basement.

Workers spoke of panic and confusion as the fire spread.

"It was terrible, suddenly the entire floor filled with fire and smoke and the heat was so intense that we rushed towards the windows, broke its steel grille and glass and jumped out," Mohammad Saleem told AFP news agency in hospital.

"I fell on the ground and it was extremely painful, I saw many people jumping out of windows and crying in pain for help."
Toxic smoke
Speaking at the scene, Karachi official Mohammad Hussain Syed said that the scale and severity of the fire made it difficult to find and identify the dead.

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World's worst workplace fires



  • September 2012: At least 38 killed in a fire at a fireworks factory in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu
  • December 2011: Ninety people killed in a hospital fire in the Indian city of Calcutta
  • June 2010: More than 116 people killed in a fire which destroys shops and housing in Bangladesh
  • August 2004: A fire in a supermarket in Paraguay kills at least 364 people
  • December 2001: At least 280 people die in a fire in a shopping area of the Peruvian capital Lima
  • November 1993: More than 80 workers killed in a fire in a toy factory in southern China
  • May 1993: At least 188 people are killed in a fire at a Thai toy factory
  • March 1911: Fire in New York textile factory kills 146


  • In pictures: Deadly Karachi fire

"Some bodies are completely charred and cannot be recognised," he said.

"It is only possible [to identify them] through DNA tests. It was a big garment factory where lots of people were working. That's why it is difficult to assess how many have come out safely and how many failed to escape and were trapped."

Bodies have been taken to several different hospitals, and police are still compiling a definitive list of casualties. Police said that they feared more bodies could be inside the building.

Firefighters said that the poorly ventilated factory had no fire exits or alternative means of escape and that most of the dead had been suffocated by toxic smoke.

Officials said windows at the factory were blocked with metal grilles and that it was crammed with combustible materials including piles of clothes and chemicals.

Firefighters on crane lifts have been trying to reach through windows of the gutted building to rescue trapped survivors suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

The cause of the blaze was still being investigated, police said, but workers say it may have been caused by a faulty generator.

Garments factories across Pakistan require their own power sources because of increasingly erratic national grid electricity supplies.

The industry is critical to Pakistan's frail economy - according to central bank data, it provided 7.4% of Pakistan's GDP in 2011 and employed 38% of the manufacturing sector workforce, accounting for 55.6% of total exports.

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Re: At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

Post  Panda on Thu 13 Sep - 9:26

13 September 2012 Last updated at 08:46










Karachi factory fire: Relatives bury dead





The BBC's Orla Guerin says the factory windows were barred, leaving most with no way out

Continue reading the main story
Related Stories



  • Blaze was 'waiting to happen'
  • In pictures: Deadly fire
  • Pakistan factory fires kill 32

Families in the Pakistani city of Karachi are burying their dead after a fire engulfed a garment factory with workers trapped inside, killing at least 247 people.

Many other relatives are lining up at the city's hospitals to give blood samples to help with DNA identification of almost 100 charred bodies.

Rescuers have now concluded the search operation.

The fire began on Tuesday and raged for more than 15 hours overnight.

Officials said late on Wednesday that the death toll was 289 but revised it down on Thursday. But it is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered.

Officials say it is one of the worst workplace fires in Pakistan's recent history.

Many relatives are also waiting outside the Ali Enterprises factory in the north-western Baldia town area of Karachi, hoping for news of their loved ones.

Continue reading the main story
World's worst workplace fires



  • September 2012: At least 38 killed in a fire at a fireworks factory in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu
  • December 2011: Ninety people killed in a hospital fire in the Indian city of Calcutta
  • June 2010: More than 116 people killed in a fire which destroys shops and housing in Bangladesh
  • August 2004: A fire in a supermarket in Paraguay kills at least 364 people
  • December 2001: At least 280 people die in a fire in a shopping area of the Peruvian capital Lima
  • November 1993: More than 80 workers killed in a fire in a toy factory in southern China
  • May 1993: At least 188 people are killed in a fire at a Thai toy factory
  • March 1911: Fire in New York textile factory kills 146


  • In pictures: Deadly Karachi fire
  • Blaze was 'waiting to happen'

The fire began hours after a blaze at a Lahore shoe factory killed 25 people, highlighting lax safety regulations.

Police have announced investigations into both fires and it will take a few days before they present their initial findings. Reports say they may have been caused by faulty generators.
Frantic calls
Witnesses in Karachi described how hundreds were trapped inside as the flames consumed the factory - the building had metal grilles on the windows and no fire exits.

Workers had little time or opportunity to escape from the four-storey building's single exit - many could do so only by jumping from what windows did provide access. Dozens suffered broken bones or worse.

Those trapped inside the building frantically rang their friends and relatives as flames engulfed it, reports say.

Funerals are expected to take place in Karachi and in other aresa of Pakistan throughout the day. A number of the workers came from rural Sindh and Punjab provinces.

Firefighters on crane lifts battled to rescue other trapped survivors suffering from burns and smoke inhalation, but the death toll rose steadily over the day

Garments factories across Pakistan require their own power sources because of an increasingly erratic national grid.

The industry is critical to Pakistan's frail economy - according to central bank data, it provided 7.4% of Pakistan's GDP in 2011 and employed 38% of the manufacturing sector workforce, accounting for 55.6% of total exports.

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Re: At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

Post  Bebootje on Thu 13 Sep - 10:28

Up and counting. Over 300 deaths by now.
Sad, very verfy sad. I understand most victims are women and children.

In this respect I want to make you aware of
http://www.cleanclothes.org/
Clean Clothes Campain is an (originally Dutch) organisation campainging worlwide to improve working conditions and supports the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries.
The aim of SKC/CCC is to improve the working conditions and support the empowerment of workersin the global garment industry. The ultimate goal is to end suppression, exploitation and abuse of the (mostly female) workers in this sector

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Re: At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

Post  Panda on Thu 13 Sep - 11:16

Bebootje wrote:Up and counting. Over 300 deaths by now.
Sad, very verfy sad. I understand most victims are women and children.

In this respect I want to make you aware of
http://www.cleanclothes.org/
Clean Clothes Campain is an (originally Dutch) organisation campainging worlwide to improve working conditions and supports the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries.
The aim of SKC/CCC is to improve the working conditions and support the empowerment of workersin the global garment industry. The ultimate goal is to end suppression, exploitation and abuse of the (mostly female) workers in this sector

Thanks Bebootje, it's a tall order now where Business is concerned. Apple has yet again introduced a new cellphone which

customers pay an arm and a leg for but the phones are manufactured abroad and probably at a quarter of the price. How many variations on a mobile phone do the public need for goodness sake,!!!

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Re: At least 128 people killed in Pakistan Factory fires

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