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Searing heat claims another 309 lives

Updated June 23, 2015

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A man brings a heat wave victim to a hospital in Karachi. — AFP
A man brings a heat wave victim to a hospital in Karachi. — AFP

KARACHI: Another 309 people lost their lives in Sindh on Monday as the punishing heat wave baked the province amid prolonged outages and stacking up of bodies in morgues.

Since Saturday evening, 445 people have perished across the province in the heat wave which shows no signs of abating.

Of the 309 deaths, 301 were reported in Karachi and eight in other parts of the province — five in Badin and one each in Nawabshah, Dadu, Sukkur — bringing the combined death toll to 445, said a senior provincial government official.

On Sunday, the heatstroke claimed the lives of 132 people in Karachi and two each in Larkana and Jacobabad districts.

As Karachi continued to sizzle at 43 degree Celsius, almost every major hospital received heatstroke patients across the city and registered heavy casualties.

The Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre confirmed 101 more deaths on Monday, bringing the toll in the hospital to 186 over the past 48 hours.

Doctors at the Civil Hospital told Dawn that 58 people died on Monday.

Sixty-seven people died in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), including 37 on Monday. Four more died in various hospitals run by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), 23 in Qatar Hospital, eight in Sindh Government Hospital in New Karachi and six in Lyari General Hospital.

Among the private hospitals, Dr Ziauddin Hospital confirmed seven deaths on Sunday and 15 on Monday, including a minor girl and five women. In Liaquat National Hospital, 12 people were brought dead while 10 died during treatment. The Indus Hospital confirmed 20 deaths.

Sindh Health Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar said the government had declared a medical emergency in hospitals and asked their management to keep separate beds for heatstroke patients.

Dr Salma Kauser, senior director (medical and health) of KMC, said more than 400 sunstroke patients were still under treatment in ASH and other KMC-run hospitals, while 300 people had already recuperated and were discharged from the facilities.

A spokesman for the Edhi Foundation said their morgue was receiving hundreds of bodies, but because of limited space they could not entertain all of them.

The staggering death toll is believed to be the highest-ever for Karachi, as well as Sindh.

According to experts, the country’s heat index has been rising because of environmental and other reasons since 1960.

Karachi sizzles

While a few places received a small amount of rainfall in Karachi on Monday afternoon, the people of the city did not get any respite as hot and humid conditions persisted.

According to the Met Office, Karachi was among the hottest places in the province as mercury shot up to 43 degree Celsius on Monday. The minimum temperature was 33 degree Celsius with humidity – a measure of the amount of moisture in the air – 45 per cent.

Some areas in the city received traces of rain, but the amount was so little that it could not be measured. The maximum temperature in the city on Tuesday is expected to range between 42 and 44 degree Celsius.

On Monday, the maximum temperature in Sukkur, Chhor, Dadu, Larkana, Rohri and Nawabshah was 43 degree Celsius; in Jacobabad, Mithi and Moenjodaro 42 degree Celsius; in Badin, Thatta and Padidan 41 degree Celsius; and in Hyderabad 40 degree Celsius.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2015

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