Sindh Minister for Information Nasir Shah has said that the investigation into the toxic gas leak in Karachi’s Keamari is still underway and the results will become available in a few hours.
He was speaking at a press conference at Karachi Commissioner Office Tuesday afternoon.
“Right now we cannot say what it [the gas] is conclusively. We thought the results will be available which is why we called this press conference,” he said. “Getting to the root of the problem has been a big issue.”
He said the University of Karachi and the Pakistan Navy’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence unit are still investigating the cause of the gas leak.
Shah reassured the public that the gas leak was limited to Keamari.
“It’s a localised event. It hasn’t spread beyond these areas thankfully,” said Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani. “I request the media to stop spreading false rumours and causing panic.”
The residents of Keamari will not be evacuated, Shah added. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said he will make a decision on the evacuation when the need arises.
There have been 14 deaths from the toxic gas, according to Dr Zafar Mehdi, focal person for the Sindh health department. The Ziauddin Hospital reported nine deaths, Civil Hospital and Kutiyana Memon Hospital reported two each and Burhani Hospital one.
The health department added that 500 people have been affected.
Patients who were admitted had their blood and urine samples taken to determine the type of gas in the air, said the commissioner.
Autopsies were carried out on the bodies of those who died. Their post-mortem reports are being prepared and will take 72 hours at least, he said.
Shah denied allegations that were there no protocols for emergency situations such as the one at Keamari.
“SOPs are present. That’s why all institutes coordinated and worked together for relief work,” Shah said.
The government is focusing on the activities at the port as well as the different chemical factories located in the area, he added.