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Heatwave Scourges Ramadan in Pakistan: Death toll crosses 700

New Delhi, June 24 (G’nY News Service): Pakistan’s Ramadan celebrations were marred by an extreme heatwave that swept across the Southern Sindh province, claiming more than700 lives in the last 5 days. Even mortuaries were reported to have reached capacity.

As the mercury reached an record breaking level baking the largest city of the country, hospitals of Karchi were flooded with victims suffering from heatstroke induced high-grade fever, altered state of consciousness, dehydration and fits. The Pakistani government has supplied hospitals and dispensaries with requisite resources including live saving medicines, ORS and ice cubes to heat related emergencies.

Karachi witnessed a scorching temperature of 45 degrees Celsius on the June 20 – the highest-recorded temperature in Pakistan in the last 15 years. The extreme temperature rise prompted the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to call for emergency measures.

The increased demand for electricity caused by the extreme weather has also plagued the entire province with frequent power cuts. Even morgues were unable to temperature control their overcrowded facilities.

Worsening the scenario is the month of Ramadan when Muslims all over the world fasts from dawn to dusk. Doctors around the country have suggested citizen to minimize exposure to the scorching sun. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had warned electric supply companies that he would not tolerate power outages during Ramadan, an official in his office said.

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Karachi University has reportedly postponed its exams for at least one month due to the extreme weather. The National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan revealed in a press release (dated June 22) that the Prime Minister has directed it to tackle the situation on an urgent basis.

Maximum Temperature Map Source  ReliefWeb

The press release assured that the ‘NDMA immediately contacted PDMA Sindh and National Health Emergency Preparedness Response Network (NHEPRN) to undertake necessary response measures for establishment of heat stroke centres at all government and private hospitals including basic health units (BHUs) and to arrange all necessary emergency medicines for heat stroke victims as well as coordination with emergency services like Edhi, Chhippa and Rescue 1122 etc. for timely transportation of the affected persons.”

The maximum recorded temperature throughout the country is 48 degree Celsius at Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur districts of Sindh. The Pakistani Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted a dip in temperature from today.

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