BAHAWALPUR: In response to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s (PDMA’s) s heat wave alert, the district administration and its integrated government departments and agencies have planned precautionary measures across the district, including Cholistan, which falls under the administrative jurisdiction of the Cholistan Development Authority (CDA).

The district administration has issued orders to Rescue 1122, district civil defence, district health department, social welfare department, local government and community department, municipal committees, and union councils to be on alert.

The administration may involve civil society bodies in raising awareness about measures to tackle heat waves.

Deputy Director Khursheed Ahmed of Local Government and Community Development Bahawalpur and District Emergency Officer (DEO) Baqir Hussain said municipalities and the district council were tasked with setting up tent-made emergency camps with the provision of drinking water and emergency drugs along roads in urban and far-flung rural areas.

They advised people to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary exposure during midday.

Health Chief Executive Officer Dr Tanveer Shah said that all tehsil headquarters hospitals in Ahmedpur East, Hasilpur, Yazman, and Khairpur Tamewali, as well as basic health units and rural health centres would provide help and medical treatment to residents in their areas.

The district education authority of Bahawalpur has instructed public and private schools to ensure children are properly looked after, with sufficient arrangements for cold drinking water and functioning ceiling fans and ACs.

Sports and extracurricular activities in playgrounds are banned to avoid children’s direct exposure to the sun.

The civil defence department has issued an advisory for pedestrians to avoid moving under the open sky and advised motorcyclists to wrap their faces and necks with a cloth while driving carefully. It also recommended people consume ample potable water during the day.

Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Muhammad Hamid of Government Nawab Sadiq Hospital said a 20-bed heat stroke ward was ready with necessary equipment, staff, and medicines. This ward would be in addition to the dengue fever ward already operational at the hospital. MS Dr Aamir Bokhari of Bahawal Victoria Hospital (BVH) said that a separate heat stroke ward has been prepared in the BVH emergency ward to handle heat stroke emergencies. He assured that BVH had ample stocks of emergency medicines and that medics and para-medical staff were scheduled for emergency duties during heat wave days.

Managing Director Naeem Bokhari of the Cholistan Development Authority (CDA) described the situation in vast desert areas as challenging, with most of the tobas (open water ponds) drying up due to the scorching heat. He said that the CDA was ready to meet this challenge and had already implemented measures to address any water shortages for the Cholistani people. Water tanks would be dispatched to desert localities facing shortages, and water supply pipelines were ensured to provide continuous water for the remaining residents and their livestock. The CDA’s veterinary wing would also be on alert to provide treatment for any sick animals.

Deputy Commissioner Zaheer Anwar Jappa stated that the PDMA’s alert has been fully implemented. The administration is aware of the imminent threat posed by the upcoming heat waves in south Punjab and has already taken appropriate measures involving all relevant government departments and agencies.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2024

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