At least 16 people have reportedly died in the Keamari neighborhood of Karachi within two weeks after inhaling what the authorities believe to be a “poisonous gas.”
The victims belonged to Ali Muhammad Goth area of Keamari. All of them were aged between 18 and 50 years. The deaths were reported between 10 and 25 January.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that the people died due to respiratory failure due to inhaling toxic gas, said the Director of Health Services Karachi, Dr. Abdul Hameed Jumani.
He added that the respiratory failure and subsequent deaths among the people in the area may have been caused by the operation of oil, grease, and crude iron factories in the area.
District Health Officer (DHO) Keamari, Dr. Muhammad Arif, said that people in the area often experience breathing difficulties due to the high levels of air pollution and often avoid seeking medical treatment. He added that the victims’ families also opted against post-mortems.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Keamari, Mukhtiar Ali Abro, mobilized civil administration after the news surfaced. Four people were arrested and three factories were sealed.
Moreover, Chief Minister (CM) Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, took notice of the deaths. He also ordered Commissioner Karachi, DG Health Department, and DG Labor Department to submit separate reports on the causes of deaths.