Asia

Pakistan factory collapse 'kills 16' in Lahore

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Media captionMany people have been trapped inside the collapsed factory, as Shaimaa Khalil reports

At least 16 people have been killed in the Pakistani city of Lahore after a factory under construction collapsed, officials say.

Emergency services are worried that as many as 150 workers could be trapped under the rubble. A major rescue operation is now under way.

Cries for help from under the debris could be heard at the site as rescue teams brought in heavy machinery.

Building safety levels are often below standard in Pakistan.

Two floors of the factory, in the Sundar Industrial Estate on the outskirts of the city, were operational, while a third was being built.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Grieving relatives of the dead and the missing were comforted at the scene of the disaster
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The rescue operation is now in full swing
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Survivors pulled out of the rubble were rushed to hospital

The Dawn newspaper reported that some under-age workers were employed there although this has not been officially confirmed.

Rescuers say they have managed to extricate some of those buried under the debris. State-run TV said 45 injured people had been sent to different hospitals in the area.

The army has said that it is deploying a team of engineers and experts to take part in the rescue.

The emergency services say that the relief operation is being made more complicated because they are using heavy machinery which could injure the survivors.

Rescue worker Jam Sajjad Hussain told AP that as many as 200 workers were inside the building when it collapsed, although other estimates in the Pakistani media have put the figure closer to 150 people.

Building safety levels are often below standard in Pakistan.

In September last year at least 24 people were killed in Lahore when the roof of a mosque collapsed.

At least 17 people - including children - were killed in a factory collapse following a gas explosion in a residential area of the city in February 2012.


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