Residents sleep on a building pavement, to escape heat and frequent power outage in their residence area Karachi, Pakistan May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
The heatwave gripping Pakistan’s Karachi region and widespread power cuts have resulted in the deaths of at least 65 people, reports indicate.
Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman for Edhi, which runs the country’s largest ambulance service, said their morgue has received 65 bodies over the past four days. This reportedly includes two people who died after losing consciousness on the streets. They passed away before they could be taken to a hospital, reported AP.
This number has not been confirmed by Pakistan government.
Temperatures in Karachi reached a high of 44 degrees Celsius on Monday (21), which is way above the daily average high of 35 degrees Celsius, according to Pakistan’s meteorological department.
Power outages across the city has worsened the situation. Karachi has been experiencing prolonged power cuts due to some technical faults at Bin Qasim Power Station-II. A spokesperson for K-Electric (KE) told the Daily Times that the load-shedding duration had been reduced from three hours to one in many areas. However, area’s facing line losses will still have more than seven hours load-shedding.
Sadly, this is not the first time people of Karachi have had to face a similar situation. A 2015 heatwave in the city touched 45 degrees Celsius, killing at least 1,300 people. Among the worst hit were a large number of elderly people, who were already unwell.
Prolonged electricity shortages, chronic water shortages and climate changes were cited as reasons for the high number of deaths at the time.
Suneela Ahmed, a Karachi-based architect and urban designer, feels it’s time to add diminishing green cover to that list. “The biggest issue is that there is no green cover in the city,” Ahmed told CNN.
Focus on housing, which has seen much of the green hinterland surrounding the city being removed, has resulted in “lungs of the city have been demolished,” Ahmed said. “With the extremity of these issues and no initiative to address them, in 15 years this city won’t be livable.”