KARACHI, Pakistan: At least 18 Pakistanis, including 12 children, were killed in a bus fire as they journeyed home after fleeing catastrophic monsoon flooding, officials and rescue workers said Thursday (Oct 13).
Pakistan has been hit by unprecedented monsoon rains this year, putting a third of the nation underwater, displacing 8 million people, and causing US$28 billion worth of devastation.
As the waters slowly recede, thousands of the displaced – many living in ramshackle tent cities – are travelling back to their sodden homes to remake their lives.
Police said the passengers died when flames broke out overnight on a northbound bus outside the city of Karachi, where they settled after fleeing one of the worst flood-hit areas.
“They were going back to their village when they were overtaken by this accident,” Vinod Kumar, a district health official present at the scene, told AFP.
“Apparently, the fire broke out in the air conditioning system of the bus but investigations will reveal the real cause,” said police officer Hashim Brohi, who was also present.
Pakistan has a dismal record of fatal traffic accidents due to badly maintained vehicles, poor roads, reckless driving and poorly trained emergency services.
The historic floods across the nation – which have killed 1,700 – have been linked to climate change.