0953 GMT April 10, 2021
Rescue workers kept scrabbling through the debris of the building – which collapsed on Wednesday – through the night and into Thursday in efforts to find survivors.
The building was that of a 4-storey polythene bag factory in the Sundar industrial estate, located about 45 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of the city center. A total of 18 people have so far been confirmed dead.
According to local officials, 70 people were pulled out alive on Wednesday, 51 of whom were transferred to the hospital.
The cause of the incident is still unknown, although it is said that the owner of the building had been constructing the fourth storey despite reported damage from a strong October 26 earthquake in Pakistan. The temblor killed 273 people and damaged about 75,000 houses in the country.
“I have heard about the earthquake affecting the building, but according to laborers the owner continued to build an extension,” Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif said.
Following the incident, the Pakistani army announced that it was sending special search teams and engineers to help with the rescue efforts. “Army engineers have been immediately moved for the rescue operation,” said a military spokesman.
Authorities say three cranes, a bulldozer and over 40 emergency rescue vehicles are working at the site of the incident, but added that rescuers are making slow progress because the building is located at the end of a narrow lane, which makes it difficult for excavators to reach the site.
Pakistan has a poor safety record in the construction and maintenance of buildings as developers frequently break building codes. Last year, at least 24 people died in a mosque collapse in Lahore. Over 200 people were also killed when the roofs of their homes caved in following torrential rains and flooding in 2014.