• Police, rescue services find 20 bodies in city over past two days
• Health officials treating deaths as ‘suspected heatstroke cases’
• Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth received 153 bodies on Sunday and Monday, says Faisal Edhi
• Harsh weather conditions to prevail in city for two more days

 (Clockwise from top) Sharea Faisal gives a deserted look as vehicular traffic remains thin on the key artery; a volunteer sprays water on motorcyclists to cool them off and rescue workers shift bodies of those said to have died from heatstroke to a mortuary in the metropolis, on Monday.—PPI / AFP / Online
(Clockwise from top) Sharea Faisal gives a deserted look as vehicular traffic remains thin on the key artery; a volunteer sprays water on motorcyclists to cool them off and rescue workers shift bodies of those said to have died from heatstroke to a mortuary in the metropolis, on Monday.—PPI / AFP / Online

KARACHI: Amid the soaring mercury which crossed 40 degrees Celsius in Karachi for the second consecutive day, bodies of at least 10 persons were brought to different city hospitals on Monday, raising the number of mortalities of suspected heatstroke victims to 20 during the last two days, it has emerged.

Rescue services and health officials said that the bodies bore no injury marks.

Most of the bodies were stated to be of chronic drug addicts who, according to health officials, apparently died of exposure to excessive heat the city is experiencing these days.

The Met department recorded maximum temperature in the city on Monday at 42°C while the mercury touched 41°C on Sunday.

Police Surgeon Summaiya Syed told Dawn that those cases were referred to the emergency departments of three government hospitals in the metropolis.

“There were no injury marks on their bodies. Their appearance and what the ambulance drivers [rescue workers] narrated to the staff suggested that they were drug addicts whose bodies were spotted on footpaths or roadsides,” she explained.

She added that officials had started treating such deaths as “suspected heatstroke cases”.

According to her, only those mortalities are referred to the mortuary for legal formalities whose identity could not be ascertained.

The police surgeon said that the bodies of two unidentified men, aged 20 and 35 years, were brought from Sharea Faisal and Landhi, respectively, at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) on Monday.

Another man in his 50s was found gasping on the roadside and brought to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) by Eidgah police. He died during treatment.

The Gulberg police on Monday said that the body of an unidentified man, aged 40-45 years, was found in Karimabad. The corpse was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

In the evening, the body of an unidentified woman, aged around 50, was recovered from the roadside in Green Town, said an Edhi Foundation spokesperson.

He said that their ambulances brought two bodies to their morgue from UP Mor in North Karachi and Orangi’s Mominabad area, respectively, on Monday.

‘Three-fold increase’

Meanwhile, Edhi Foundation officials stated that three of their mortuaries in the city had seen more than a three-fold increase in the number of bodies routinely brought at these facilities over the last two days.

“On a daily basis, our mortuary at Moosa Lane receives five to seven bodies. But, on June 23, 35 bodies were brought there. Moreover, the mortuary at Korangi generally receives five to six bodies but 10 bodies were brought there on Sunday. The same day, 95 bodies were brought at the Sohrab Goth’s morgue where usually 30 to 35 bodies are received on a daily basis,” Faisal Edhi, the head of the Edhi Foundation, told Dawn.

According to Edhi officials, 30 bodies were brought to Moosa Lane, 12 at Korangi and 58 bodies at Sohrab Goth mortuaries on June 22.

All the deceased were brought by their families, they said, adding that the cause of death wasn’t recorded, though the staff routinely collected a copy of an identity card of a family member.

Chhipa spokesperson Shahid Husain said their ambulances took seven bodies on Monday and 10 bodies on Sunday from different localities.

Surge in heatstroke patients at hospitals

Information collected from several health facilities showed that a large number of patients were reporting with heat-related illnesses to private general physicians as well as tertiary care hospitals.

At least one heatstroke patient was brought dead at the Indus Hospital while another is currently under treatment.

“Today, at least 300 to 400 patients reported at our emergency and out-patient departments with heat-related illnesses,” shared Dr Liaquat Ali Halo, additional medical superintendent and the head of the emergency unit at CHK.

He added that those patients included a significant number of those affected by heat stroke.

No respite from hot weather in Karachi

The Met Office has forecast continuity of the sizzling weather conditions over the next two days with temperature expected to range between 38°C and 40°C.

“A low pressure area south-east of Karachi is blocking the sea breeze that’s contributing to hot weather conditions,” Chief Meteorologist Dr Sardar Sarfaraz said.

He added that the temperature was expected to go down from Wednesday (tomorrow).

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2024

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