Peoples wearing facemasks walk past outside an hospital entrance in Karachi on February 17, 2020, after a gas leak killed five people and sickened dozens of others in a coastal residential area in Pakistan's port city of Karachi. (Photo by Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP)

Death toll in Karachi’s toxic gas leak surges to 14: health official

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Sindh health department has announced 14 deaths in Karachi’s toxic gas leak incident in the port area.

Dr Zafar Mehdi, focal person of the provincial health department, in a statement said that 14 persons have been died at the city’s hospitals due to inhaling poisonous gas during last two days.

Giving details, the health official said that nine patients admitted at Ziauddin Hospital have been died. “Two patients each at the Civil Hospital and Kutyana Memon Hospital in Kharadar, and another patient reported died at Burhani Hospital.”

The exact cause of the deaths have not yet been ascertained, hospital sources said.

Earlier, heavy contingents of law enforcement agencies including Rangers deployed on the entrance and exit routes of the affected areas. Rescue and security teams distributed face masks among the citizens.

Commissioner Karachi told media that a cargo vessel had transported some consignment to Karachi Port Trust (KPT) from where the gas leakage spotted after inspection. The KPT administration has been ordered to halt off-loading of containers from the ship, he added.

In his media briefing, the commissioner said the gas spread was stopped when the ship doors were closed, whereas, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the authorities to inspect all items loaded in the containers.

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah said it is necessary to check air quality to spot the source of the hazardous gas. He added that Pakistan Army is assisting the authorities to check the air quality of the affected sites, whereas, the experts from Suparco [Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission] have also collected samples to investigate into the matter.

Death toll in the gas leakage has surged to seven as one more person died at midnight on Monday.

At least 220 people have thus far been suffering from the poisonous gas and have been hospitalised since Sunday.

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