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Death toll from heat wave in Pakistan hits 1 200

death-toll-from-heat-wave-in-pakistan-hits-1-200

According to local media reports, a severe heat wave has claimed over 1 200 people in Pakistan by June 25, 2015. Pakistan's worst heat wave in decades started on June 20, 2015 when southern port city of Karachi saw temperatures reach as high as 45 degrees Celsius.

The maximum temperature of 48°C was recorded in three districts of Sindh province – Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur – on June 20, which slid down to 41 on June 21.

Around 1 000 people died in public hospitals of Karachi while dozens died at small medical institutes and clinics. Many of the victims were elderly people from low-income families, Nation.com.pk reports.

State-run water utility said electricity shortages have crippled the water supply system in Karachi, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has issued special instructions to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other relevant organisations to arrange urgent assistance for the heatwave victims.

Sindh government, meanwhile, announced a one-day public holiday to encourage residents to stay inside.

Dawn, Pakistan's leading English-language daily newspaper, is criticizing the government saying they are imposing absurd instructions and blaming electricity issues as the main problem…

"The load-shedding situation across Sindh is very dire indeed, but the deaths from heatstroke are only marginally connected to electricity. The dead consist largely of very vulnerable people, including the poor, the elderly and day labourers, who had no awareness of the early symptoms of heatstroke or of preventive measures such as rapid rehydration with salts and covering of the head to prevent direct exposure to sunlight. The Sindh government is focusing excessively on electricity as the cause behind the deaths, and not enough on measures that more directly deal with the cause of the deaths."

Featured image: Majestic Sun by Mrehan (CC – Flickr)

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