Korangi Oil Spill Incident

And when the dust settles… or in this case oil

* Affected residents not satisfied with rehabilitation work


By Jamil Khan | KARACHI


WHILE utility departments are busy with rehabilitation work in the oil swapped locality in Korangi, area residents have expressed dissatisfaction at the measures taken by the concerned agencies to remove the crude oil and brin

An aerial view of crude oil soaked houses. Photo by Liaquatullah

An aerial view of crude oil soaked houses. Photo by Liaquatullah

g things back to normal.

Three days have passed since the PARCO pipeline burst in Korangi, resulting in an oil spillage that has affected around 2,500 residents of this lower middle class locality. The PARCO pipeline was damaged on Wednesday evening while officials of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) were fixing the nearby SSGC pipeline at the central island on the Qabrastan Road between Korangi No 2 and 2-1/2.

Talking to Daily Times, the residents of the locality said that their houses and belongings have been destroyed by the crude oil and the rainy weather was adding to their miseries.

“Everyone is visiting the area to make a mockery of our misery. No one has extended a helping hand to us”, said Akram. His daughter was sitting in her Maiyoun and is supposed to get married next week. Due to the accident, Akram says the entire dowry is spoiled.

Abdul Rasheed, the owner of a newly built house adjacent to the Qabrastan Road, is one of the most affected people. The exterior of his newly painted house was spoiled by the two hour long crude oil shower, turning the light orange shade to a dark brown, sticky mess. Talking to Daily Times while he was removing the crude oil remains, he said, “The officials are claiming to provide assistance but there is no major help offered. We are arranging for detergent powder and other cleaning agents from our pockets”.

The crude oil also made puddles in many homes and contaminated the water supply on rooftop and underground water storage tanks.

Muhammad Faisal, the principal of Hilal Public School, which is hardly 50 meters away from the faulty pipeline said, “The oily outpour has completely destroyed whatever came in its way.” While Faisal appreciated the role of the civic agencies, he expressed dissatisfaction with the on duty SSGC officials.

Besides the affecting the homes of people, shops, schools and colleges had to shutdown. “There was this big bang and all of a sudden dark liquid started to rain. Luckily, we had our evening session going on and not many students were present. Though no one was harmed, oil shower damaged our building,” says Obaidur Rehman, a teacher at a private academy located near the scene.

SSGC Deputy Director General-Admin Aamir Mumtaz, who is supervising the operations, told Daily Times that during the last three days around 100 patients were treated for minor problems due to the fumes of crude oil. “So far, no decision has been taken regarding the compensation as the responsibility lies with the high ups. However, we are doing what we are supposed to do.” Talking about the relief measures, he said that besides medical assistance, SSGC has also provided food to 2,500 people of the affected area for the last two days as well as arranging a massive labour force to remove the thick layers of crude oil accumulated in the area.

PARCO’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Abdul Rahman said that a medical relief camp has been setup to provide all possible assistance. “Fortunately, no major problem has occurred and all those treated at the medical camp had nasal and eye infections,” he said. Rahman mentioned that they were also treating the area residents for other minor ailments and relief medicines were being given out free of charge.

Dr Rahman also appreciated Chiniot Hospital, which has played a major role in establishing the medical relief camp that continues its operation till Sunday.

Korangi Town Health Officer Dr Hussain told Daily Times that the city government doctors have been visiting the affected residents and will continuer to do so in the coming week.

While these operations are underway, the area residents have demanded compensation from the government so that their houses can be repainted and their damaged goods replaced.

– Published in Daily Times | Dec 20, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on December 20, 2008.

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