Islamabad, Pakistan – A bus carrying nearly 50 people displaced by the catastrophic floods in Pakistan has caught fire, killing at least 18 of them, including eight children and nine women.
The passengers were all members of an extended family who were forced to shift to Karachi after the floods submerged their homes in Khairpur Nathan Shah in Dadu district of Sindh province.
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The incident took place on Wednesday night on the Karachi-Hyderabad highway near the industrial town of Nooriabad, situated nearly 185km (115 miles) from Karachi.
“There were 47 people on the bus. The fire started in the back of the bus which we think might be due to a fault in the air-conditioning system,” local police officer Hashim Brohi told Al Jazeera.
The officer said an investigation was under way.
Zafar Mughairi, a resident of Hyderabad city, told Al Jazeera the victims were the members of his extended family.
“It was my cousins, six brothers, and their respective families which were travelling in the coach,” he said.
“The bodies were impossible to recognise. We are carrying them back to our village for burial.”
Road accidents are common in Pakistan and are often blamed on shoddy infrastructure, unfit vehicles, and people not following traffic rules. At least 20 people died in a road accident in August this year when a bus collided with an oil tanker in Punjab province.
Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics says in the year 2021 alone, there were 10,379 road accidents resulting in 4,566 deaths in the country.
The record floods have killed more than 1,700 people in Pakistan this year. Thousands of people have been forced to move out of their homes to find temporary accommodations due to the deluge.