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Pak: Death toll rises to 18 in tragic Paretabad LPG blast

Hyderabad [Pakistan]: The death toll from the tragic May 30 Paretabad LPG cylinder blast and fire incident climbed to 18 as four more individuals succumbed to their burns, Dawn reported.

Among the latest casualties are 17-year-old Alisha, the daughter of Zeeshan; 15-year-old Umair, son of Arshad; 14-year-old Abbas Ali, son of Mubarak; and 25-year-old Doda, son of Mehar Bagri.

Zeeshan, who had already lost his son, Mohammad Hassan alias Ali Hyder, in the same calamity, now mourns the loss of his daughter. His five-year-old daughter, Kinza, remains hospitalised at the Civil Hospital Karachi with burns covering 29 per cent of her body, as reported by Dawn.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Zain Ul Abedin Memon has called upon the senior executive director (LPG) and the senior executive director (enforcement) of the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to take decisive action against illegal decanting points of LPG and CNG filling stations in Hyderabad.

In correspondence dated June 1, the DC has pledged full cooperation and coordination from the district administration and police to assist Ogra and its enforcement teams in achieving their objectives. He highlighted that many LPG shops and sale points were operating without the necessary permissions or NOCs.

Additionally, the DC has forwarded another letter through the Hyderabad commissioner to the home secretary, urging action against all such unlawful outlets, Dawn reported.

The cylinder blast and fire incident, which tragically claimed numerous lives, predominantly children, once again exposes the vulnerabilities and limitations of Liaquat University Hospital's burns ward.

The burns ward at LUH serves not only the healthcare needs of Hyderabad residents but also those from neighbouring districts in lower Sindh.

However, it appears that the ward itself is struggling to survive.

Despite the completion of the construction of a multi-story building, the burns ward lacks a crucial component: a dedicated intensive care unit (ICU) for burns patients. Other essential components, despite being outlined in documents such as the project cost estimate (PC-I) initiated during Dr SM Tahir's tenure, are absent.

The unit has been operating under temporary arrangements for an extended period. Approximately two decades ago, it operated in a building deemed unsafe for habitation. Subsequently, it was relocated to a two-story structure consisting of outdated private wards.

Dr Tahir, who served with the burns unit from 2000 to 2018, expressed concerns about the adequacy of treatment in such an environment for burn victims when the unit was transferred to the old private wards building, Dawn reported. 

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