Southern Pakistan Heat Wave Death Toll Hits 800

Officials said on Wednesday that death toll from five days of heat wave in southern Pakistan has passed 800, as hospitals struggled to cope with thousands more victims of the soaring temperatures.

Nearly 780 people had died in the port city of Karachi since Friday, said Jam Mehtab Dahar, the health minister in the southern province of Sindh.

About 50 people died of heatstroke in other parts of the province as temperatures stayed at around 45 degree Celsius, said Ijaz Afzal, a director at the ministry.

“This may not be the final tally. We are still counting the dead,”

Afzal said, adding that About 10,000 people were being treated at hospitals.

Hospitals were overflowing with thousands of patients suffering from heatstroke and heat-induced exhaustion, while morgues were also at capacity, Dahar said.

Television footage showed people lying on the floor at hospitals and medics running from one patient to another.

A public holiday was declared in Karachi for the rest of the week to encourage people to stay indoors and cool off, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said.

Doctors from army and civilian rescue agencies set up dozens of temporary medical camps to treat people with dehydration and heat stroke, the military said.

Pakistan’s weather service had predicted that pre-monsoon rains would start in Karachi on Tuesday evening, but thundershowers were in the end limited only to the northern and central parts of the country.

Nearly 2,500 people died in April and May because of a heat wave in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telagana in India, Pakistan’s eastern neighbour.


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