A deadly heat wave spreading through southern Pakistan has killed nearly 800 people in just a few days—a number that threatens to rise as temperatures remain unusually high this week.
At least 740 people have died of dehydration, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses in Karachi, the country’s largest city, since Saturday, with various sources estimating the death toll to have hit anywhere from 744 to 775. Local media reports that an additional 38 people have died in other provinces.
As temperatures hit 45°C (113°F) on Tuesday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared a state of emergency for hospitals, many of which have hit full capacity, with thousands needing care for heat stroke and dehydration.
Al Jazeera writes:
A former director of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency, Asif Shuja, said earlier this week that the soaring temperatures are an impact of climate change, fueled by rapid urbanization, deforestation, and car use. “The last 30 years – from 1993-2012 – had been warmer than the last 1,400 years. Scientists envisage a rise of 1-6.67°C in temperature till 2100 which will be disastrous,” he told the Express Tribune.
But as the Daily Pakistan points out, a study conducted by the Lancet/UCL commission this week found that only 15 percent of Pakistani citizens believe climate change is a major threat, while 40 percent are unaware or deny its existence. That makes Pakistan the “least aware” country in the South Asian region of the threats of climate change.
Click Here: Golf special
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you – no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers.
Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slowly – only 1,024 readers have contributed so far. We must meet our goal before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, we need you now.
Commentator Juan Cole adds:
Discontent is rising, too. Many residents are reportedly angry with some of the government measures being taken, such as power cuts, which they say prevent locals from using air conditioning and fans.
Three weeks ago, India faced a similar deadly heat wave, which saw 1,200 people killed as temperatures hit nearly 50°C (122°F).