Tornado destroys candle factory in Pakistan

Image copyright AFP Image caption Husband and wife Abdulrahman and Atifa decided not to take shelter in the factory

A tornado hit a candle factory in the Pakistani city of Karachi with about 110 people inside, killing at least one person and injuring about 40.

The town in Sindh province was in darkness and when Husband and Wife Abdulrahman and Atifa decided not to take shelter in the factory, a tornado made its way inside, storm chasers told Reuters.

Among those rescued were two children, aged three and four, who were injured, said local police officer Chaudhry Mukhtar.

The building was also badly damaged in the incident.

Pakistani news agency, APP, quoting a hospital official, said all the bodies have been identified and DNA tests are being conducted to identify them.

The factory in Gaddani town, north of Karachi, produces candles for gift items and short home packages including calendars, key chains and pacifiers.

It had just reopened for business after a closed-down period due to previous power outages.

Image copyright AFP Image caption A Twitter user posted a picture from inside the factory

A man known as Husband, a factory employee, was working at the factory when the tornado struck and at one point was trying to build a wall, said the Reuters news agency.

A clip of the incident posted on the Twitter account of @RiYyYashar who is based in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, shows the building’s roof flying away as people run for cover.

Following the storm, Mr Mukhtar, who is in the police control room and directs rescue teams, said the office of the factory owner called and said the factory was “completely destroyed”.

The fire brigade had managed to rescue many people, he said.

Prayers for the dead, prayers for the injured: the streets are full of people praying. It is hard to believe that it happened here.

– Chaudhry Mukhtar, police officer

There was no official word from the factory’s owner on the incident, nor have there been any initial reports of how many people may have been killed.

A spokesman for Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) said there had been no outages in the area at the time of the incident.

Over the past month, there have been nine tornadoes in the southern part of Pakistan, stretching from southern Sindh, including Karachi and Hyderabad, to the capital Islamabad.

Some 65 million Pakistanis are estimated to live in cities.

Recent tornadoes, one of the worst of which was in Larkana in Sindh, left at least 66 people dead and injured thousands.

Tornadoes, known locally as ‘bacha’, have killed more than 7,000 people in the country since 1949.

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