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Showing posts with label Karachi Stampede. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karachi Stampede. Show all posts

Monday, September 14, 2009

Khori Garden Karachi stampede kills up to 20 women, children

Up to 20 women and children were killed on Monday in a stampede which broke out as charity workers were handing out free flour to the poor in a crowded neighbourhood of Pakistan's financial capital Karachi, officials said.

"We have so far received 20 bodies of women and girls while the injured are more than 30," Amin Khan, an official in Civil Hospital Karachi, told AFP.

Karachi city police chief Wasim Ahmed said at least 18 women and children died in the stampede with dozens of others injured.

"The deaths were caused by suffocation and the stampede in one of the most congested localities of Khori Garden, where a charity was distributing free flour among hundreds of women and children during Ramadan," he added.

Muslim-majority Pakistan is observing the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when believers fast from dawn to dusk.

Women clad in black burkas sobbed and wailed as ambulances screeched through the streets, ferrying the bodies and injured to hospital.

Injured women and children lay on beds in a crowded hospital, where panicked relatives rushed around trying to find their loved ones and dead bodies lay covered in white sheets, television footage showed.

Witness Fatima Hashim, 55, whose daughter was seriously injured said the stampede happened in a small area where huge crowds converged for handouts.

"The place where wheat flour was being distributed was very narrow, which suffocated hundreds of women and children," she said.

"I went along with two of my daughters to get two bags of flour but now my younger daughter is struggling for life in the hospital," she added.

"We were in a long queue waiting for our number (to be called) to get a 10-kilogram (22-pound) bag of flour from the charity when people started running," witness Hafeeza Begum, 45, told AFP.

"I was quite far from the platform where the bags were being distributed, so I promptly grabbed my teenage daughter and reached a safer place."

Heavy traffic delayed rescue workers in reaching what is one of the most congested areas of Karachi, a teeming city home to an estimated 14 million.

Ahmed told Pakistan's private Geo television station that police arrested the distributor in connection with the accident.

In April 2006, the country's worst stampede in recent history killed 29 women and children at a religious gathering to mark the anniversary of the Prophet Mohammed's birth in Karachi.
(Source: samaa.tv)