At least 11 people, including three children, were killed in a stampede at a private charity distribution site for food ration in Karachi’s SITE industrial area on Friday, one of several such incidents in recent weeks as the population struggles with rising inflation in the country.
Rescue workers told The Express Tribune that several people, including women and children, also fell unconscious during the stampede at the ration distribution centre.
Eyewitnesses and rescue workers said several people fell into a nullah at the location during the stampede. According to unconfirmed reports, an electricity power-line had fallen into the nullah, electrocuting some of the victims.
Nine bodies were brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital from the stampede in Baldia Town, a spokesperson for the hospital told The Express Tribune. Six injured victims were also brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, he said.
The Civil Hospital received two dead bodies after the incident, medical superintendent Sabir Memon said, bringing the death toll to 11.
CM orders report on deadly stampede
Taking notice of the stampede, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah directed the Karachi commissioner to submit a report on the incident.
In a statement, the chief minister said the concerned administration of the area should have been informed about the distribution of ration or any other charity work beforehand.
He expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in the incident and issued directives to immediately transfer the injured to the hospital.
“I am saddened to hear about the martyrs, most of which are women,” the chief minister was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khurram Sher Zaman expressed grief over the incident, saying that such incidents were taking place daily across the country.
“Due to the carelessness of the government, people are dying instead of being provided any relief,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said, demanding a transparent inquiry and action against those responsible for the incident.
Friday’s deadly stampede in Karachi is just one of several such incidents in recent weeks with the population struggling with rising costs of basic staples and food items as the country’s battles one of its worst economic crises in decades.
Thousands of people have gathered at flour distribution centres set up across the country as part of the government’s efforts to ease the impact of inflation, which is running above 30 per cent, a 50-year high.
At least five other people have been killed and several injured in recent weeks at free food and flour distribution sites in other provinces in Pakistan. Thousands of bags of flour have also been looted from trucks and distribution points, according to official records.
The stampedes underscore people’s desperation in the face of soaring costs, exacerbated by Pakistan’s falling currency and a removal of subsidies agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to unlock the latest tranche of its financial support packages.
The costs of basic goods have surged, with flour prices rising more than 45 per cent in the past year.
The government launched the flour distribution programme to reach millions of families in need during the holy month of Ramazan that began last week.__Tribune.com