Concerns are growing in the port city of Karachi in Sindh province that toxic gas could still be leaking as officials scramble to find the source of the problem.
Dr. Zafar Mehdi of Sindh Province’s Health Department said 14 people had died from toxic gas exposure in Karachi and that 500 others were affected by the gas to varying degrees, including some who are in intensive care.
Mehdi said autopsies had been carried out on the dead and that post-mortem reports were expected in 72 hours.
Sundus Rasheed, who lives in Karachi’s seaside neighborhood of Kemari, told CNN that residents were panicking.
“At around 10 p.m. (12 p.m. ET) on Sunday, we got a call that there had been some sort of gas leak and people are dying. Hordes of people [were] coming with their faces covered, ambulances rushing towards the port. Our car windows were rolled up but eyes were irritated and burning; something is clearly wrong. We’ve evacuated our home,” Rasheed said.
Images from Karachi show small protests against the government, with demonstrators wearing face masks and demanding answers from officials.
Karachi officials have said they cannot find any evidence of a leak.
Karachi Port Trust Chairman Jameel Akhtar said: “All terminals and berths have been checked. Even private terminals, the oil piers, oil installation areas have been checked. No gas or chemical leakage. If there was a gas leak at the port the first affected would have been the people who work near the court.”
He said that the Pakistani navy had taken samples from the sea port area and were awaiting the results.