More than 500 people die in six days as heatwave grips country

As temperatures rise in southern Pakistan, so do the death toll.

Edhi Ambulance Service said there are usually about 30 to 40 people coming to Karachi’s morgue every day.

But in the past six days, the force has collected some 568 bodies – 141 on Tuesday alone.

It is too early to say the exact cause of death in all cases.

But the death toll is rising as temperatures in Karachi soar above 40C (104F), with high humidity making it feel as hot as 49C, reports said.

People went to the hospital looking for help.

Karachi Civil Hospital received 267 people suffering from heatstroke between Sunday and Wednesday, said Dr Imran Sarwar Sheikh, head of the emergency department. Twelve of them died.

“Most of the people we saw coming into the hospital were in their 60s or 70s, although there were a few around 45 and even a couple in their 20s,” Dr Sheikh told the BBC.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and high fever.

“Many of the people we met worked outside the home. We have asked them to ensure they drink plenty of water and wear light clothing in these high temperatures.”

High temperatures – described by one meteorologist as a “partial heatwave” – began at the weekend.

Heat protection centers and camps have been set up to try to provide relief to the public.

Photos show children playing in fountains trying to cool off.

“Look at me! My clothes were soaked with sweat,” Mohammad Imran told Reuters news agency as he tried to keep calm on Monday.

Not everyone who needs help makes it to the hospital.

Wasim Ahmed knew he wasn’t feeling well when he got home.

The 56-year-old security guard had just finished a 12-hour night shift outside. Even then, he still found the temperature too high.

“He walked through the door and said I can’t cope with this hot weather,” Adnan Zafar, Wasim’s cousin, told the BBC. “He asked for a glass of water. As soon as he finished, he collapsed.”

By the time Wasim’s family took him to the hospital, doctors said he had died of a suspected heart attack.

Adnan said he had a heart condition, but he had never been exposed to heat before.

Karachi’s struggle with high temperatures, some fear, will be worsened by frequent power cuts that cut off the fans and air conditioning many people rely on to keep cool.

Muhammad Amin is among those who have endured load shedding – where power is cut off; It is a common practice across Pakistan for electricity boards to try to maintain supply.

His relative said their apartment often had intermittent power cuts.

According to his family, Muhammad was in his 40s when he suddenly fell ill and died.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, but his family suspects it was due to high temperature.

According to Dawn newspaper, rescuers found nearly 30 people dead on the city’s streets.

Many people are suspected of drug addiction, police surgeon Summaiya Syed told the newspaper. However, they did not show any signs of injury.

Karachi is not the only part of Pakistan struggling to cope.

Last month, Sindh province – of which Karachi is the capital – recorded a near-record temperature of 52.2C, according to Reuters.

Pakistan’s neighbors have also suffered extreme, deadly temperatures in recent weeks.

Across the Indian border, the capital Delhi is suffering an “unprecedented” heatwave, with daily temperatures surpassing 40C (104F) since May, peaking near 50C.

Doctors in the city said they had never seen anything like it before.

For Karachi resident Mohammad Zeshan, it’s clear what the problem is.

“This is due to climate change,” he told Reuters. “This is happening all over the world. This is happening in Europe. They have faced intense heat but they have taken steps to deal with it.

“But here, sadly, the government has not taken any effective measures.”

Experts agree that these extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.

Karachi’s heat wave is expected to last into next week, although temperatures are forecast to be slightly lower.

According to experts who spoke to Dawn, weather experts are now turning their attention to the monsoon season, which is expected to arrive early and bring up to 60% more rain.


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