September 10th, 2020
By Arshad Mohmand
Twenty-three-year-old miner, Samiullah was killed in the Mohmand mine collapse on Monday along with 24 others. Samiullah was the sole breadwinner of his family of nine sisters, an elderly father, a wife, and six children.
Shah Gul Chacha, Samiullah’s father, says that ever since his son died he has not been able to face his daughters.
“He was my first son after eight daughters. When he was born the whole area celebrated. You can ask the people gathered here, back then whoever came here laughed; now whoever comes here cries,” says Shah Gul, tears rolling down his eyes.
Several interconnected mines in the Ziarat marble mountain area, Safi Tehsil, Mohmand District collapsed burying dozens of miners. Rescue services have dug up the bodies of 24 workers so far but many more are still buried under the rubble.
Marble from the Ziarat mountain is extremely valuable because of high international demand. marble of Ziarat Mountain is considered to be one of the best in the world. These mines produce several hundred truckloads of marble worth millions of Rupees every day. But the work is dangerous and miners are forced to work without any safety equipment.
Jamal Shah, a miner, says that his life is under constant threat. “We are not given any safety equipment at all be it gloves, helmets or masks”, says Jamal. “It’s extremely dangerous to work in these conditions,” he adds.
According to local contractors, even after four days, the much-promised government machinery has not arrived. Contractor Shah Khalid says that the contractors are using their own machinery to dig out workers buried under the rubble.
“God Willing we will try to as much as we can. We are using our own machinery to help people. The provincial government has not supplied us with anything. Even though some people from the local administration including the AC and the DC of the area have come by for a visit,” says Khalid.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has announced an aid package for the victims of the tragedy. The families of the deceased will receive Rs.9 lacs while the injured will receive 1 lac each.