Karachi, Pakistan (BBN)-At least 945 people have died in the last four days as a result of a severe heat wave in Karachi, doctors and officials said Wednesday, with medics battling to treat patients as a state of emergency was declared in hospitals.
66 people have died in the past four days due to severe heat in other parts of the province, reports Geo.Tv.
Temperature in Karachi went up to 36 degree Celsius today as the heat wave weakened in intensity. But the Met Office said that chances of rain in the city had dropped to a bare minimum as the weather system developing in the Arabian Sea had reached the Indian city of Gujrat instead.
Over 69 more people have died at the Jinnah Hospital today, according to the hospital spokesperson.
Doctor Zafar Ijaz at the Sindh Government Hospital, New Karachi, said that eight more people have lost their lives at the premises today.
At least six more people died today at the Liaquat National Hospital, according to the spokesperson, while 23 people have died at the Civil Hospital.
The government has demanded urgent action to deal with the crisis, and the administration in Sindh province declared Wednesday a public holiday to encourage people to stay indoors out of the sun.
Some residents on Wednesday took to hosing each other down with water to avoid collapsing from heat stroke.
A state of emergency was in force at hospitals which were struggling to treat over 3,000 people affected by heatstroke and dehydration.
The National Disaster Management Authority has set up dedicated heatstroke treatment centres to cope with the high number of patients.
Blasting summer heat is not unusual in Pakistan, and some parts of the country regularly experience temperatures higher than those seen in Karachi this week, without serious loss of life.
But this year’s heat wave has coincided with the start of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, during which millions abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.
The majority of the deaths in Karachi have been among the poor and manual labourers who work outdoors, prompting clerics to urge those at risk of heatstroke not to fast.
The situation has not been helped by power cuts, a regular feature of life in Pakistan, which have stopped fans and air conditioners from working.
Electricity shortages have crippled the water supply system in Karachi, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.