Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Karachi heat wave kills about 400 people, death toll still rising

A scorching heat wave across southern Pakistan's city of Karachi has killed more than 400 people, authorities said Tuesday, as morgues overflowed with the dead and overwhelmed hospitals struggled to aid those clinging to life.

The majority of the deaths occurred in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub of around 20 million people.

Temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) began scorching Pakistan's port city of Karachi over the weekend. Hourslong power outages, typical in Pakistan, also struck the city, leaving fans and air conditioners inoperable as the majority of people in this Muslim country abstain from food or water during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The power outages also affected the sporadic water supply in the city, where those who can afford it rely on tankers of water being delivered to their homes. Some men cooled themselves off Tuesday under the pouring water of a broken water pipe.

Most of the dead are the elderly, said Seemi Jamali, a spokeswoman for Karachi's Jinnah Hospital. Hundreds more are being treated for heat-related ailments, including fever and dehydration and stomach-related illnesses, she said. Mortuaries were running out of space, with local television stations showing bodies stacked inside of cold storage rooms of morgues.

Provincial Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah ordered schools and public offices closed Tuesday until the heat wave ends.

Semi Jamali, a doctor at Karachi's largest hospital said they had treated about 3000 patients.

"More than 200 of them were either received dead or died in hospital," Jamali told AFP.

Pakistan's largest charity, Edhi Welfare Organisation, said their two morgues in the city had received more than 400 corpses.

"More than 400 dead bodies have so far been received in our two mortuaries in the past three days," Edhi spokesman Anwar Kazmi told AFP. "The mortuaries have reached capacity."

Electricity shortages have crippled the water supply system in Karachi, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.

Pakistan's Meteorological Office said temperatures remained at around 44.5 Celsius in Karachi on Tuesday but forecast thunderstorms for the evening.

"Due to a low depression developing in the Arabian sea, thunderstorms will likely begin this evening and might continue for the next three days," a Meteorological official told AFP.

The provincial government meanwhile announced a public holiday to encourage residents to stay inside, an official said. Many of the victims have been labourers who toil outdoors.

Some residents also took to hosing each other down with water on Tuesday to avoid collapsing from heat stroke.

Tahir Ashrafi, a prominent Islamic cleric, urged those who were at risk of heat stroke to abstain from fasting.

"We (religious scholars) have highlighted on various television channels that those who are at risk, especially in Karachi where there is a very serious situation, should abstain from fasting," he said.

"Islam has drawn conditions for fasting, it is even mentioned in the holy Koran that patients and travellers who are not able to bear fasting can delay it and people who are weak or old and are at risk of falling sick or even dying because of fasting should abstain," he added.

An official from the National Disaster Management Authority told AFP heat stroke treatment centres would be established at all hospitals across the province to provide " emergency medicines for heat stroke victims".

The deaths come a month after neighbouring India suffered a deadly heatwave, with more than 2,000 deaths.

Hundreds of mainly poor people die at the height of summer every year in India, but this year's toll was the second highest in the country's history.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

http://www.12newsnow.com/story/29383428/major-heat-wave-in-pakistans-karachi-kills-over-400-people

http://news.yahoo.com/death-toll-pakistan-heatwave-rises-over-450-officials-065253981.html

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