Pakistan heatwave kills 572, over 400 in Karachi

Death toll from a devastating heatwave that has gripped Sindh for three days has led to at least 250 more deaths in the provincial capital of Karachi on Monday, taking the number of people who have died from heat-related symptoms to at least 400.

According to Karachi Medical Corporation (KMC) spokesperson Salma Kausar, more than 70 people lost their lives at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) and KMC hospitals in the past three days. The deaths are said to have occurred due to heat and gastro-related problems. Earlier, it was reported that 30 people had died in ASH on Saturday and Sunday. Twelve women and two children are among the dead.

Head of emergency department at Karachi’s Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Seemin Jamali said over 200 people died at JPMC alone due to heat-related symptoms in the past three days.

Professor N. Saeed Qureshi from Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) said there have been 64 deaths as of Monday night at CHK.

Saqib Zeeshan, a spokesman for Indus Hospital, said 20 people had died of heat-related complications at the hospital till Monday, while the Sindh health minister said at least 15 deaths had been registered at Lyari General Hospital.

Liaquat National Hospital representative Anjum Rizvi said 22 people lost their lives at the hospital in the past 72 hours, while 24 people were reported dead at Qatar Hospital, according to the hospital’s spokesman Khalid Masood.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Edhi mortuary told the country’s leading news resource that around 400 bodies had been submitted to the welfare centre in the past 48 hours. He said the morgue had reached its capacity and could not accommodate more bodies.

Edhi’s Sohrab Goth morgue has received around 200 bodies in the past 24 hours alone, the head of the facility, Muhammad Bilal, told APP. He said these included those who died due to heatstroke as well as others who expired because of various diseases and natural causes.

“We have been telling people not to bring bodies since last night but despite that they are coming. We cannot accommodate more dead bodies,” he said.

The Sindh provincial government has imposed a state of emergency at all hospitals, cancelling leave for doctors and other medical staff and increasing stocks of medical supplies.

According to earlier reports, at least 132 people had lost their lives due to the intense weather — most of whom were pronounced dead at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), officials had said.

Saturday was the hottest day of this year’s summer in Karachi, during which the mercury had shot to 45 degree Celsius. The maximum temperature of 48 degree Celsius was recorded in three districts of Sindh — Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur — on Saturday, which slid down to 41 on Sunday.

Officials had said on Sunday that Karachi would not see any let-up on Monday (today) when temperatures are expected to go up to 44 degree Celsius.

Earlier this month, 17 people died due to a heatstroke in Sindh’s Sehwan during the Urs of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

In Karachi, electricity shortages crippled the water supply system, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said. Pakistan’s Met Office said temperatures hit 43 C in Karachi on Sunday. More hot and humid weather is predicted for the coming 24 hours, though thunderstorms forecast for later in the week could bring cooler weather.


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