At least 16 people have been reported dead after a building failure in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan.
The failure occurred on March 5, 2020. The structure was located in Karachi’s central district. Expansion works were being conducted when the building collapsed killing at least 16 people (including children) and burying an unknown number of victims under the rubble. According to officials, a fifth floor was illegally added to the existing 4-story building before the failure.
The structural collapse affected adjacent buildings that were also damaged.
The causes of the failure have not been identified yet and, currently, engineers are conducting a detailed investigation. An inspector stated that the failure is associated with the sewage system.
Rescue teams, including military units, tried to rush at the scene but they had to tackle traversal issues associated with narrow road lanes in the vicinity of the site. Therefore, heavy equipment could not be brought to the scene and, thus, rescuers had to search for survivors with casual means. According to a health official, 33 victims have been hospitalized.
Similar structural failures are common in Pakistan. The developers try to reduce the cost of a building and, as a result, safety regulations and building codes are not always respected. In early 2020, Karachi officials ordered the SBCA (Sindh Building Control Authority) to evacuate 382 residences that were reported to be at risk, however, owners have not complied with this decision.
Back in July 2017, a three-story building failure in Liaquatabad area of Karachi resulted in at least 6 fatalities. The last story of the building was also found to be illegally constructed. In February 2019, another three-story residence gave way killing 3 more people. In December 2019, a six-story building, consisting of 24 apartments and some storage rooms, developed intense cracks and collapsed. Fortunately, all residents were evacuated in time.
Click the video below to watch footage from the rescue operations conducted after the building's failure.