Feb 24, 2015

Balochistan: Latest Fatal Explosion in Coal Mine Highlights Ongoing Poor Safety Standards

On 22 February 2015 seven workers were retrieved who had been killed in a coal mine explosion in Loralai district, Balochistan. This fatal accident is the most recent of a number of similar incidents in the region that have drawn criticism of the poor safety standards applied to mines and the lack of adequate rescue services in the Baloch region.

Below is an article published by The Express Tribune: 

Deputy Commissioner Shazeb Kakar confirmed that the rescue operation had ended and that seven bodies were recovered.

Seven coal miners were trapped inside the Duki Coalfield in Tarkan area of Loralai district at a depth of 2,200 feet following an explosion on Thursday morning. The blast triggered a landslide as well. With no immediate rescue facility available nearby, local residents and workers from nearby mines rushed to the spot and used shovels and bare hands to dig out workers buried under the rubble.

A local government official confirmed that a rescue worker had also died during the challenging search operation. He said the bodies had been flown to the victims’ hometown.

The coalminers killed in the incident were identified as Bakht Afzal Yusufzai, Mir Alam Khan, Azeem Khan Yusafzai, Taib Khan, Mohaib Khan, Alam Khan and Taj Mohammed while Hameedullah had died while trying to rescue his colleagues. They all were residents of Shangla and Swat from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Meanwhile in Shangla, the hometown of the deceased coalminers, anger and grief boiled over the delay in rescuing the workers.  Relatives wailed as they took to the streets to protest against the delay in rescuing their loved ones.

Two committees have been formed to probe the incident. According to the deputy commissioner, the panels will submit their reports to the chief minister.

Mining accidents are common in the insurgency-hit province, which is plagued by poor safety conditions. Dukki is one of the resource-rich areas of Balochistan, which has rich coal reservoirs.  Last month [January 2015], a gas explosion killed eight coal miners in the same district.


Photo Courtesy of The Express Tribune