In Karachi, a poisonous gas leak continues to claim lives as authorities attempt to track down its source. The gas leak was first reported Sunday night, and the death toll is up to 14 as of this morning. Six people died Monday morning, and then two more people died overnight.
Hundreds of people have been sickened by the poisonous gas in Karachi. Medical personnel discharged more than 250 people after treating them for exposure to the toxic gas. Officials say most of those exposed to the gas have been treated and released from area hospitals.
Poisonous gas leak reported in Karachi
According to news reports from Pakistan, the poisonous gas leak is affecting people in the Keamari neighborhood of Karachi. Patients come from Jackson Market, Railways Colony, Kachi Para and Docks Colony. One case was reported at the Jackson Police Station.
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Those who have been sickened by the gas are being treated at the Civil Hospital, Kutiyana Hospital, Burhani Hospital, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and Ziauddin Hospital. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
Schools in the affected areas of Karachi remain closed. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered that residents from the neighborhoods affected by the poisonous gas be evacuated Monday night. He said the “bad smell” wasn’t clearing up and residents were still being sickened by it.
Meanwhile, dozens of protestors from the areas adjoining the apparent source of the gas gathered in Jackson Market to call for answers in relation to the deaths caused by the poisonous gas.
Where did the gas come from?
Authorities in Karachi have still not tracked down the source of the poisonous gas leak. There have been reports that the source of the gas was a soybean ship that was docked at the port there, but officials have denied those claims.
Officials were notified about the ship during a cabinet meeting in Sindh province. Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani said the ship was unloading soybeans or some similar substance. He thought that when the unloading stopped, the smell would diminish.
Authorities ordered the ship’s container to be checked and then learned that the unloading had already been stopped. However, the gas leak continued, so it was discovered that the ship was not the source. Additionally, the crewmembers onboard the ship weren’t reporting any symptoms from the gas.
Petroleum and oil storage facilities investigated
Officials noticed that residents of the affected area could only smell the gas at night. The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that poisonous gas had leaked from the terminals were petroleum and crude oil products were being stored in the affected area.
However, upon further investigation, it was unclear whether this was the source of the poisonous gas leak in Karachi. The agency said it’s standard procedures for companies to conduct repairs and maintenance on the storage units, and toxins may have leaked during that process.
The first people who became ill or died from the gas leak live next to a storage unit located in Railway Colony. Authorities have been collecting samples from the affected areas and hope to learn more in a day or two after studying the samples, which include samples of the air quality.
A spokesperson for the Karachi Port Trust denies that the terminals are the source of the toxic gas. He said they have already checked all the terminals, and the source was not found.
Investigation into poisonous gas leak in Karachi continues
During a press conference about the situation, Shallwani told reporters that they are still considering multiple theories about the source of the gas and the nature of it. However, their investigation continues.
A spokesperson for the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency told Dawn that they surveyed the affected area on Monday and spoke to people living there. He said they haven’t been able to determine where the gas is coming from or what is causing it. He also said there was “some sort of activity,” but they weren’t sure about what it was yet.
Medical personnel have been collecting samples from those who have been affected by the gas. Authorities have also been completing post-mortem exams if those who died from the poisonous gas leak in Karachi. However, they say reports from those exams won’t be ready for at least 72 hours. Officials hope to be able to determine the cause of the gas leak and the nature of it from the post-mortem reports.