Pakistani Heatwave Worries Karachi Citizens

  • Pakistan's Meteorological Department has issued a three-day heatwave alert from May 5 to 8.
  • Experts say the country's weak health system is not strong enough to cope with the coronavirus and any major catastrophe.
  • Government officials and medical experts are claiming that full arrangements have been made for a possible heatwave.

There is a severe heatwave in Karachi and other cities of Sindh. In Jacobabad, Dadu, and Larkana, the mercury has gone above 40 degrees Celsius. At the same time, it is hot in Balochistan. Turbat recorded a high of 43 degrees Celsius. It reached 42 in Sibi, Chhor, and Lasbela, while rain and hail are expected in Upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Karachi is the capital of the Pakistani province of Sindh. It is the largest city in Pakistan, and seventh largest city proper in the world.

Pakistan’s Meteorological Department has issued a three-day heatwave alert from May 5 to 8. Meanwhile, the temperature in Karachi is expected to reach 42 degrees Celsius on May 5, and 43 degrees Celsius on May 6 and 7. Sardar Sarfraz, Director of the Meteorological Department in Karachi, said that the temperature in Karachi has been 35-36 degrees Celsius for the past several weeks, and the humidity is also high. However, the next three to four days will see 40 degrees Celsius.

Sardar Sarfraz, while talking to reporters, further said the weather will be very hot and dry in the next few days as there will be no high humidity in the air. The winds blowing from the south-east will remain closed in the morning while hot winds will blow from the north-west of Balochistan. However, there is a possibility of partial restoration of these winds in Karachi. Citizens are advised to take precautions this season.

For example, not moving outside unnecessarily between 11 AM and 4 PM. If it is very necessary to leave the house, people are required to cover their head with a wet cloth. According to experts, Karachi’s health department is not capable of dealing with any such sudden disaster. There are federal, Sindh, and local government hospitals in the city, but these hospitals are under immense pressure from the population. Besides, people come to them not only from Sindh but also from Balochistan for treatment.

In 2015, a heatwave came during Ramadan, in which about 1,500 deaths occurred in just 3 days. Along with hospitals and cold storages, ambulances to transport patients and the dead were also reduced, and people were forced to take the bodies of their loved ones in rickshaws and taxis.

A severe heat wave with temperatures as high as 49 °C (120 °F) struck southern Pakistan in June 2015. It caused the deaths of about 2,000 people from dehydration and heat stroke, mostly in Sindh province and its capital city, Karachi.

Muhammad Younis, who lost his mother in a heatwave five years ago, said his mother had a heart condition. She was taken to the hospital in a coma, where doctors confirmed her death. According to Younis, the difficulties he had to go through to get his mother’s body from the Civil Hospital to the morgue are indescribable. Upon arrival at the morgue, it was learned that there was no place to keep more corpses. From there, they had to go to the second and then the third morgue asking to keep the corpse.

On the other hand, government officials and medical experts are claiming that full arrangements have been made for a possible heatwave. Dr. Sami Jamali, director of the emergency department at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, told reporters that separate wards had not been set up for heatwave patients due to the coronavirus. However, a separate area had been set aside where temperatures were lower. He appealed to the citizens not to leave their houses unnecessarily during the heatwave and if it is necessary to leave, they should cover themselves.

Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, Secretary-General, Pakistan Medical Association, said that the health department was not able to deal with the coronavirus and if the heatwave came, matters would become more complicated. Now, he says, “the government must take into account the deaths from the heatwave that occurred five years ago because, after the coronavirus, the focus of hospitals and doctors is only on the coronavirus, which causes other patients to be ignored.” However, only with precaution, the heatwave can be avoided.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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