Karachi: An intense heatwave in Pakistan's southern Sindh province has killed at least 260 people in the country's worst heatstroke in more than a decade, triggering an emergency situation in major hospitals on Monday. The rare heatwave that gripped the province since the advent of Ramzan on Friday has hit mostly the elderly and the homeless, with the temperature soaring to 45 degree Celsius.
The scorching heat was earlier likely to continue further but sudden heavy rains and cool winds broke the spell in many parts of the city. Pakistanis were reeling under severe weather temperatures for the last three days that also saw major power breakdowns in many areas of the city, adding to their woes.
Hundreds of people are being treated for heat-related ailments like fever, dehydration and low blood pressure while increasing number of dead bodies have inundated the major hospitals.
"It is an emergency situation because the people of Karachi have not witnessed such weather for decades," Dr Seemi Jamali, the medical superintendent at the Jinnah hospital said.
She said the heatwave claimed at least 150 lives in the provincial capital Karachi. Dr Salma Kausar at the Abbasi Shaheed hospital said that in three days 68 dead bodies were brought to the hospital, all victims of the heatwave. According to Dr Saeed Qureshi at the Civil hospital, there were 35 bodies brought to the centre since Friday.
The bodies brought from other hospitals in the city have taken the death toll to around 260, Jamali said. "The heat wave is unusual and we are advising people not to go out of their homes unless absolutely necessary," Jamali said.
Nine deaths were reported from Thatta and Tharparkar in the interior of the Sindh province, health officials said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all agencies and services concerned to deal with the situation. He said the government was also looking into the power crisis in Pakistan's financial hub.