KARACHI - As many as two people, including house owner Hassan Abbas Zaidi and his 45-year-old wife Zehra Bibi died and others got trapped when a three-storey building collapsed in Jaffer-e-Tayar Society in Malir on Monday.

The locals themselves managed to recover Zaidi from the debris and rushed him to a hospital for treatment however it was too late as he succumbed to his injuries. Fortunately, 12-year-old son of the couple Shahzain, who was wearing school uniform, was rescued and shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for medical treatment. According to rescuers, two more sons of the owner namely Sabih Abbas, 17, and Zareen Abbas, 22, still trapped under the debris of the collapsed buildings. Four other injured are reported to have been rescued so far.

SBCA declared over 200 buildings extremely dangerous

DIG Amir Farooqui and Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur also visited the site to inspect the rescue operation. Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar after getting information of building collapse, reached the site and monitored the rescue operation. He also appealed the area people to come down from their roofs.

Talking to media representatives along with the Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Ali Shalwani, he said the operation was being carried out smoothly and the rescue staff was using small machinery so that those who are still alive beneath the debris could be rescued safely. He said a child has been rescued alive and there may still be some people under the collapsed building. He also directed the chief fire officer to arrange for lights for working in the night hours and other necessary equipments. Mayor Karachi said that KMC fire brigade, USR and municipal services staff among other departments took part in this rescue operation and they will remain here till the completion of operation. Akhtar said due to narrow passage it was difficult for rescue teams to reach the site of incident.

He said more than hundred skilled workers taking part in this operation. Sindh building control authority would prepare report on this incident. After the incident, the Sindh Building Control Authority Director General Iftikhar Kaimkhani along with his technical team also rushed to the site of the collapsed house. During the inspection it was informed by the area residents that the collapsed property is an old house measuring 100 square yards comprises ground +2 stories constructed approximately 25 to 30 years ago.

“During the campaign against the encroachment in the recent past, front portion of the said house was demolished. Thereafter the owner without consulting any professional and also without having any approval from SBCA has started cutting/ jacketing the structure columns and beams on his own to give strength to the structure of his house from inside with no visibility from outside. Since the said house is a corner one and lack strength the incident was occurred,” said a SBCA statement.  However the building regulatory clarified that the report is purely based on collected initial information from the residents of the area and maybe consider as primary report.

The final report would be submitted after thorough inspection and investigation of the site after the rescue operation is completed.

It may be noted here that the SBCA had declared over 200 buildings as extremely dangerous and unsafe, to be used as living purpose, in Karachi and ordered the dwellers to vacate their places at the earliest however hardly any of them were vacated. It may be noted that city has been witnessing some tragic incidents of building collapses, bringing massive loss of human lives but the authority concerned seemed least bothered for getting the dangerous buildings vacated. The SBCA had declared 203 buildings across its 18 defunct towns, including 153 in Saddar town, 16 in Lyari Town, 11 each in Jamshed Town and Liaqatabad Town, four in Kemari Town, three in Malir Town, one each in Shah Faisal, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Korangi, Baldia and Gulberg Towns.