Pakistan: More than 1000 killed by heatwave

26th Jun 2015
Pakistan: More than 1000 killed by heatwave

[Photo: An Army doctor treats a patient affected by heatwave at heat stroke centre in Karachi on June 24.

Photographer: Sabir Mazhar/AA]
By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, (AA): A four-day long heatwave in Pakistan has killed more than 1000 people.

Health officials told reporters on Tuesday that at least 748 of the deaths had been in the populous southern port city Karachi while provincial officials said many of the other deaths have been in the surrounding southern Sindh province.

With rain clouds hovering over Karachi expected to bring rain that will break the heat, the temperature remains at 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit), accompanied by high humidity.

The provincial government has also announced a public holiday in government offices Tuesday to reduce electricity consumption and shorten power cuts that have lasted as long as 12 hours at a time.

An estimated 400 people have died during the last four days in Karachi, the country’s commercial capital, where a blistering heat wave compounded by long power cuts wreaked havoc in daily life.

At Jinnah hospital, the largest government-run medical center in the city, 262 patients died in the last four days while 1,500 were being treated for heat related illnesses, Dr. Seemi Jamali, the head of the hospital’s emergency services, told reporters Monday.

“We don’t have space for more patients and many heatstroke patients are being treated in other wards,” Dr. Jamali said.

The University of Karachi and other educational institutions in the city postponed their scheduled exams because of the stifling heat wave.

Also, over 1,000 children suffering from dehydration and gastro-related diseases were admitted to different hospitals in northeastern Lahore city within the last three days; of them over 450 were said to be in critical condition, local Geo Television reported.

Thousands of people also took to the streets Monday across the country to protest against power cuts that have caused acute water paucity in many cities. Pakistan’s Water and Power Ministry cites an increasing demand in the holy month of Ramadan as the prime reason behind the power cuts.

The lack of electricity has also caused water pumps to fail, leading to water shortages in parts of Karachi.

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