Karachi, Pakistan, 9 August 2011 – Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, had mobilised members of its Disaster Assessment and Response Team (DART), to assess the damage resulting from the collapse of the Lyari Building and identify rescue and relief needs, soon after the incident.
Based on the DART’s recommendations, FOCUS Pakistan immediately deployed a team of 15 volunteer rescuers, who are trained and equipped for urban search and rescue operations. In the initial hours of the incident, 15 injured individuals were rescued. To date, 34 bodies have been excavated from the rubble, while more than 16 people are still feared trapped under the debris.
The five-storey Lyari building, collapsed on the morning of 4th August 2011 in Moosa Lane locality of Baghdadi area, Lyari Town in Karachi, trapping more than 50 people under the rubble.
FOCUS Pakistan’s Search and Rescue Team (SART), trained by Rescue and Preparedness in Disasters, the UK representative of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group and IntOps AB, a Swedish consultancy company in crisis management and humanitarian operations, has been working jointly with the Urban Search and Rescue team of the National Disaster Management Authority, since the collapse of the building, using the latest search and rescue equipment to reach the victims.
Commending the efforts of FOCUS, Brigadier Anus Asad of the Army Engineer Corp said that “FOCUS Pakistan’s team has been extremely supportive in the rescue operations”. The SART was also supported by members of the Kharadar area Community Emergency Response Team, established by FOCUS Pakistan as part of its community based disaster risk management programme.
As part of its mandate to help communities build resilience to disasters, FOCUS has developed a professional search and rescue team consisting of 40 members during its 13 years of presence in Pakistan, and has trained over 34,000 local community members in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Muzaffargarh, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan to effectively respond to disasters such as the devastating Monsoon floods (2010), Attabad landslide (2010) and the South Asian earthquake (2005).