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Residents demand answers as suspected Karachi gas leak kills 14 people

Pakistanis demanded answers from the government on Tuesday (February 18) after at least 14 people died and many more were treated in hospital following suspected gas leaks in Karachi’s port area. 

On Sunday (February 16) night, four people died and hospitals were flooded with people complaining about breathing difficulties. Another suspected gas leak was reported on Monday (February 17) night. 

A provincial health ministry official told Reuters by phone that 14 people had died and around 20 patients were being treated at different hospitals in the city.

Panic and fear gripped the town of Keamari where people complained of a gas spreading and started wearing face masks for protection.

The cause of the incident was not immediately known.

Residents and victims claimed that a poisonous gas leaked from one of the ships at the seaport, where some chemicals were being stored to preserve vegetables, local media reported.

A spokesperson for the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) denied such rumours, saying that no such ship had arrived at the port. 

Residents took to the streets on Tuesday calling on the government to conduct a transparent inquiry into the incident, as officials from environmental agencies tested the air quality in affected areas. 

(Production: Waseem Sattar, Shahabuddin Shahab, Louisa Naks)

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