A Pakistani official says that the death toll in the heat wave in southern Pakistan has hit 622, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, as the government called in the army to help tackle a devastating heat wave in parts of the country.
The death toll in Karachi, the country’s largest city where temperatures hit 45 C (113 F) over the weekend, was at least 202. Another 11 deaths were reported in southern parts of central Punjab province.
National Disaster Management spokesman Ahmed Kamal said the government asked the army and paramilitary rangers to help relief efforts that will include setting up heatstroke treatment centers around the city.
Coping with the scorching heat is hindered by power cuts that are a daily feature of life in Pakistan.
The government of Sindh, the province where Karachi is located, has imposed a state of emergency at all hospitals, canceling leave for doctors and other medical staff and increasing stocks of medical supplies.
Doctors said most of those who have died succumbed to heatstroke.
In Karachi, a city of 20 million people, electricity shortages crippled the water supply system, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.
Pakistan’s Met Office said temperatures 49 C (120.2 F) in the southwestern city of Turbat, close to the Iranian border.
More hot and humid weather is predicted in the next 24 hours, however thunderstorms forecast for later in the week could bring cooler weather.
The deaths come a month after neighboring India suffered the second deadliest heatwave in its history, with more than 2,000 killed. 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.
Story by CCTV Africa and the Associated Press.
Hospitals in Pakistan full of patients suffering heat related illnesses
A deadly heat wave in Pakistan. Over 600 people have died as temperatures soared past a scorching 45 degrees Celsius. So how long will this last？CCTV Jim Spellman filed this report from Washington.