KARACHI: While another 30 people lost their lives because of heatstroke on Sunday, several provincial ministers visited various hospitals and blamed prolonged power outages in the city for over 1,200 deaths before Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari made a trip of the Civil Hospital Karachi amid optimum security cordon and caught the sight of patients who had little space to lie on and poor facilities to convalesce fast.
With the 30 new deaths, the authorities at various hospitals said that the death toll had risen to 1,306 in Sindh — 1,214 in Karachi alone — since March 20.
Health Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar, who visited the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, said some 37 per cent of the total people died of heatstroke were women.
Ministers blame K-Electric and federal government for over 1,200 deaths in Karachi
Although, the PPP chief, who visited the CHK with Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Senator Sherry Rehman, did not speak to the media during his visit, those present there said he was not happy with the facilities in the hospital either.
Once very vocal on the social media, Mr Bhutto-Zardari refrained to tweet about his visit and share any orders he had given to the provincial authorities to save further loss of life.
However, it seemed that he might have left it to Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon to go for another outburst replete with accusations against the federal government and K-Electric.
Mr Memon, in tandem with minister Dahar, claimed that half of more than 1,200 people died during the punishing heatwave could have been saved had the prolonged power outages not carried out.
“Loadshedding has messed up everything in the city and all this is happening because of the mismanagement of K-Electric and the federal government,” said Mr Memon after visiting the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where around 200 heatstroke victims have died.
He said those who were earning billions of rupees had failed to supply power properly to the citizens.
“They blame it on line losses and faults for power outages, tell me who if not K-Electric is responsible to rectify these faults and line losses,” he said.
Mr Dahar said people belonged to both genders and almost all ages died because of heatstroke.
He claimed 50pc deaths could have been prevented if the power supply remained normal.
“The majority of the heatstroke victims were men, particularly those above 40 years, yet the heatwave’s 37pc victims were women, and there were children as well — most of whom, however, luckily survived,” said Mr Dahar.
Doctors at the National Institute of Child Health say children survived heatstroke more proficiently than elders for the reason that they do not fast and if they do they don’t hesitate to take the liquids — an emergency tool to save a heatstroke patient’s life.
Officials at the provincial health department said they had documented the death of at least 30 more people in Sindh — 28 in Karachi and one each in Hyderabad and Tando Allahyar districts.
“With today’s deaths, the death toll in the province is now 1,306 with 1,214 in Karachi and 92 in other districts,” said the official.
A representative of the Edhi Foundation said its volunteers buried a dozen more unclaimed bodies. He said the foundation had already buried more than 300 such bodies in its graveyard.
Officials at the city’s hospitals said a majority of the dead appeared to have hailed from low-income groups in addition to many homeless, beggars and drug addicts.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2015