Death Toll in Pakistan Hits 141 as Killer Heat Wave Continues


The death toll in Pakistan hit at least 141 as the killer heat wave underway in Karachi, Pakistan and other parts of Pakistan’s southern Sindh province continues, with little respite in sight until possibly around June 25, when the pre-monsoon season begins. According to a Health Ministry official, yesterday, in Tharparker, four people died of dehydration and five died in Thatta, as the numbers of dead caused by the heat wave continued to mount.

On Sunday, in Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah declared that Karachi’s government hospitals and those hospitals other cities in the province effected by the killer heat wave were in a state of emergency. He stated that all of the hospitals in the Sindh province would be provided with an “uninterrupted supply of power and water,” in an effort to combat the rising death toll.

A report by CNN stated that, in the port city of Karachi on Saturday, temperatures were recorded of up to 45 degrees Celsius, or 112.64 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the highest recorded temperature in Karachi in 15 years. On Sunday, the temps dropped slightly, down to 42.5 Celsius or 108.5 Fahrenheit.

The suffering of the people living in Karachi and other cities in the Sindh province have been added to by the frequent power outages and rolling power cuts that are ongoing there. There have been a series of violent protests by people throughout Karachi who feel that the government should do more to help alleviate the suffering and numbers of people dying due to the heat wave.

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and a major financial hub of the country, boasts a population of approximately 20 million. The reports of the numbers of people who have died due to the recent killer heat wave have varied, with Agence France-Presse stating 122 people have perished since Saturday, and CNN affiliate GEO TV has the number at 140.

Yet another factor compounding the rising death toll caused by the killer heat wave in Pakistan is that Ramadan is being celebrated throughout the country by most Pakistanis. The fasting of the people celebrating Ramadan from sunup to sundown has likely contributed to the mounting numbers of people succumbing to the intense heat.

Pakistan is experiencing the same type of heat wave that caused the deaths last month in India of over 1,000 in just one week. Officials in Pakistan are hopeful that the measures they are taking, like ensuring that hospitals in the area get a continued supply of water and electricity, will help stem the increasing death toll there.

Much of the population in Karachi, Pakistan remained in their homes over the weekend, in an attempt to find relief from the blistering heat. Businesses have been hurt as a result, and heat exhaustion has caused the hospitalization of dozens of people who have complained of dehydration and are suffering from low blood pressure.

Fasting, heatstroke, and not following safety or precautionary measures are all contributing to the rising death toll, according to a family physician in Karachi, Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Shoro. Shoro said that “diabetics should consult their doctors before fasting.” He also blamed other problems that Karachi is facing, such as “load-shedding and water shortage.”

While the heat wave continues, people in Karachi are being advised to drink a minimum of 16 glasses of water a day. Other measures recommended are to wear thin clothes, take regular baths, and try to stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. In case of power outages, people should use hand-held fans.

The current death toll has mounted to at least 141 as the killer heat wave continues, according to The Hindu and other sources. If the population of Karachi, Pakistan can last until June 25, when the pre-monsoon season begins, they might get some temporary relief from the heave wave, though weather forecasters have stated that the intense heat wave will probably return after the monsoon season.

Written and Edited By Douglas Cobb

The Hindu: Heatwave in Pakistan’s Sindh province leaves 141 dead
CNN: Pakistan heat wave claims at least 140 lives in Karachi
The Express Tribune: Sweltering summer solstice: Sun rains down
death on Karachi
Photo Courtesy of Adeel Anwer’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License 2.0

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