Pakistan heatwave kills more than 1000

Provincial government calls public holiday in attempt to limit electricity consumption and reduce power cuts

Pakistan heatwave kills more than 1000

World Bulletin / News Desk 

More than 1,000 people have been killed over five days by a searing heatwave in Pakistan, with the worst effects in the country's commercial capital Karachi.

According to figures released by 10 hospitals in Karachi, the stifling heatwave, which is hoped will dwindle within the coming day, has killed 815 people in the city, with 65 dying on Wednesday.

According to the Chief Minister of southern Sindh province, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, over 200 people have also been killed due to heatstroke and related diseases in interior districts of the province.

Opposition leader Khursheed Shah however has claimed in parliament that the figure is higher and that more than 1,200 people have died in Karachi alone since June 20.

Over 3,000 heatstroke patients are still being treated in different Karachi hospitals, which have struggled to accommodate the number of patients. TV footage showed patients being treated on the floor of the emergency ward in the government-run Jinnah hospital.

Dr. Seemi Jamali, head of the hospital's emergency services, told reporters that the administration had demanded 100 extra beds from the provincial government on an emergency basis, to cope with the growing number of patients.

Power cuts that have lasted up to 12 hours a day in parts of the country appear to be one of the major factors behind the higher number of deaths.

The water and power authorities have blamed increasing demand for the power cuts, which have also led to a water shortage, especially in the slums of Karachi where water pumping stations cannot operate without electricity.

The Sindh government announced yet another public holiday on Wednesday to reduce power consumption.

The city's already limited graveyard spaces have been overburdened by the sudden spike in deaths, leaving families rushing between graveyards in search of a space to bury their deceased.

"Over 300 bodies are still lying in our mortuary. We are waiting for their heirs,” said a spokesman for the Edhi Foundation, a social and health NGO.

According to local media, a large number of those killed were laborers and workers from further north, who could not cope with the intensity of the heat and humidity.

For the past week, the overwhelmingly Muslim population of Pakistan has been observing the fast in the holy month of Ramadan, along with the rest of the Muslim world.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Haziran 2015, 11:40
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