Six die as punishing heatwave bakes Sindh

Published June 21, 2015
People gather outside the Hesco office after consumers protesting against prolonged loadshedding hours and frequent outages ransacked it and torched electricity meters and furniture on Friday.—Online
People gather outside the Hesco office after consumers protesting against prolonged loadshedding hours and frequent outages ransacked it and torched electricity meters and furniture on Friday.—Online

KARACHI: Six people, including four children, died as a brutal heatwave swept Sindh on Saturday, health and Met officials said.

According to the provincial health department, reports were received about the deaths of six people, including four children, from various districts of Sindh who died because of stroke caused by oppressive heat.

They said that preliminary reports showed that a man died in Sukkur and a child in Dadu. A man and three children, including an infant boy, died at hospitals in Mithi and Chhachhro owing to intensely hot weather conditions amid a 36-hour power outage.

While Saturday was the hottest day of this year’s summer in Karachi, where the mercury shot to 45 degrees Celsius, the maximum temperature of 48 degrees Celsius was recorded in three districts of Sindh — Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur.

An official at the Pakistan Meteorological Department told Dawn that wind pattern indicated that the relatively cool sea breeze was not blowing and the city was getting hot continental air.

He said that the minimum temperature recorded in Karachi on Saturday was 32 degrees Celsius while humidity — a measure of the amount of moisture in the air — was 45 per cent.

He said that the weather in the city on Sunday was expected to be hot / very hot and dry and the maximum temperature was expected to remain between 40 and 42 degrees Celsius. However, the Met department’s website shows the maximum temperature to range between 44 and 46 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

The highest temperature Karachi has ever experienced was 48 degrees Celsius on May 9, 1938.

Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur sizzle at 48°C, Karachi at 45°C

Meanwhile, the maximum temperature recorded in Larkana, Sukkur and Jacobabad was 48 degrees Celsius; Moenjodaro (47 degrees Celsius); Dadu (45.1 degrees); Nawabshah (45 degrees); Mirpurkhas and Padidan (44 degrees); Mithi (43.2 degrees); Hyderabad (43 degrees); Chhor (42.7 degrees); Thatta (41.5 degrees); and Badin (41 degrees centigrade).

Prolonged power cuts plague Karachi

With the mercury soaring, people of the metropolis completely lost their cool due to prolonged and frequent power cuts and the failure of the K-Electric to provide uninterrupted electricity on Saturday, the second day of Ramazan as well.

“Sometimes they say there is a problem with the high tension cables, which they say is due to the humid weather, sometimes their power plants are short of gas, which according to them is the problem of Sui Southern Gas Company. And now they say that we the consumers are using too much power increasing the demand so now the finger is aimed at us. When would they admit that they just can’t cope with the demands of a big city such as Karachi,” asked an angry consumer from Federal B Area.

A consumer from Korangi 48-B told Dawn that his area remained without electricity for the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, sick and tired of suffering in the heat without being given any respite many of the people came out of their houses to attack KE’s offices in their areas.

Some who found any repair work going on surrounded the power utility’s employees and would not let them leave unless they had fixed the problem and power in their area had been restored.

Despite the bleak situation, a KE spokesman claimed that things were improving as most of the faults had been fixed.

“We have fixed most of the problems and are hopeful to conclude work with positive results in Federal B Area, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Bahadurabad, Landhi, Korangi, Orangi Town and Gadap where faulty pole-mounted transformers are being replaced and other faults are being looked at though the attacks on our offices are slowing down the work,” he said.

“Besides attacking our offices, some residents have also taken our staff as hostages. We can only request our respectable consumers to cooperate with us as that will pave the way for the completion of work faster.

“The problems hindering power supply are also due to the sudden rise in temperature. But we have our rapid response teams on alert now and working non-stop to insure uninterrupted power supply to our consumers,” the spokesman concluded.

Meanwhile, consumers of some areas in Malir (Jinnah Square), Bahadurabad (KDA Scheme 1), Defence Housing Authority (Phase-7 and Khayaban-e-Itehad), F.B Area (Blocks 4, 5, 6, 16 and 22) North Karachi (Sectors 11B, 15A and 16B), Garden (Hoti Market and Queens Road) and Saddar (Civil Lines and I.I. Chundrigar Road) besides portions of Mai Kolachi and Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road experienced a deliberate maintenance shutdown between 9am to 6pm.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2015

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