Mortuaries are said to be reaching their capacity in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province with over 800 people having died in the last three days from a heatwave. Some reports say as many as 2000 have died in recent weeks.
The soaring temperatures – up to 44 degree’s Celsius – have put pressure on the provincial government, which has been criticised by opponents for not investing in public services.
Major General Asghar Nawaz, Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned of extreme weather conditions becoming more frequent:
“At this time Pakistan has become a high-risk county as far as environmental changes are concerned. What you are witnessing today, we will probably be seeing more of this in the future. And we need to prepare for that, to gear up for it.”
The heatwave has once again exposed Pakistan’s fledgling civilian government’s failure to fund in social services, making a glaring contrast to the military, which often takes the lead in responding to natural disasters.
The army has won praise after it setting up 22 health centres to distribute aid.
Power cuts have compounded the problem in Karachi leaving residents without working fridges fans or water. Many of the deaths among the elderly and poor have been caused by dehydration.
Matters have been made worse by the widespread abstention from drinking water during daylight hours during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Last month, nearly 1,700 people died in a heatwave in neighbouring India.