Rains cause nightmare in Orakzai Agency

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Mines cave in, 7 dead, 30 injured, 35 trapped

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar—Torrential rains in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have led to a major tragedy as a couple of coal mines in the Orakzai Agency caved in Saturday evening leaving at least seven people dead and over 30 others seriously injured.
While the condition of 10 labourers has been describes as critical, around 35 more continue to be trapped under tons of rubble and the administration is finding it hard to conduct effective rescue operation in the absence of adequate machinery and equipment.
Owing to the critical condition of many labourers and dozens of people still trapped under the rubble, the officials as well as local sources apprehend the death toll may rise.
Reports reaching here said the torrential rains gripping the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for three days, have rendered two coal mines, situated at the converge of Hangu and Orakzai agency, caved in with big bang in the evening.
The locals and the rescue teams did rushed to the site of the incident but found it hard to carry on rescue operation as there is no machinery or the required digging equipment etc. to retrieve the workers who are buried alive under tons of rubbles.
The former Health Minister KP and a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Shaukat Yousafzai MPA told media that at least 65 workers were in the mines when they caved in, adding it was extremely difficult to rescue them as neither there is any machinery nor trained rescue workers for the safe and early retrieval of trapped workers who belong to Shangla, home district of the PTI leader.
While the members of the district administration, security forces, rescue teams and the locals are busy in rescue operation with whatever available sources, some 37 people have been retrieved from the mines with seven of them declared dead.
Thirty people have been shifted to local hospitals with some shifted to hospitals in Kohat where the doctors have described the condition of around a dozen injured as precarious.
The PTI leader Shaukat Yousafzai said they were even finding it hard to transport the injured to Kohat hospital in the absence of ambulances. He confirmed the death of at least seven people.
Hectic efforts were underway till the filing of this report late in the night to retrieve the remaining workers; the local sources apprehended the chances of their survival were getting bleak with every passing moment.
Yousafzai has appealed to the Federal government as well as the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to take all measures for the retrieval of the trapped workers on emergency basis.
The Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra while expressing deep sense of shock over the Orakzai coal mine tragedy has directed the authorities of FATA secretariat and the political administration to expedite the rescue operation and leave no stone unturned for the early and safe retrieval of the trapped workers. He also advised hospital authorities to ensue best available treatment to the injured workers.

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