Unrelenting heat in Southern Pakistan has reached a death toll of approximately 1400 people and health authorities are expecting the death toll could rise, since there are remote districts that are currently not added (Source.)
Hasan Murad director-general of the Sindh’s health department said since June 20th in his district there have been nearly 1200 people who have died from heat stroke and related diseases in the costal city of Karachi.
Provincial Chief Minister Syed Qaim said that more than 200 people died in the interior districts of Sindh earlier in the week.The Anadolu Agency was told by an unnamed senior health official they expect the death toll could be hundreds higher once the remote unreported districts are taken into account. He went on to say the current figures are ones being reported by the media from the major hospitals.
Hospital officials stated many of the victims were laborers from the far north and homeless people who succumbed to the intense heat the region has seen.
Health NGO the Edhi Foundation has received more than 200 unclaimed bodies since June 20th in Karachi, Edhi Foundation’s operating chief Faisal Edhi stated.
Edhi said that 140 bodies were buried in mass graves and 60 people were still waiting to be identified at the NGO mortuary. Hospitals are finding it difficult to accommodate the numerous heat stroke patients.
Heat and Blame
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PDM) is predicting there will be some relief from the heatwave due to southerly winds. Pakistan’s environmental minister Mishaidullah Khan is blaming new power plants built in India for the hot temperatures.
Though weather experts and environmentalists have not come out in force to back up the ministers claims. Khan said during a Islamabad seminar the power plants in India located in the state of Rajhistan were responsible for the heatwave and continued high temperatures.
Karachi environmentalist Nasir Panhwar stated that without scientific research to prove the power plants are responsible for the temperatures it is premature to make these claims. Panhwar said politicians have their own assertions, but as an environmentalist without proof they cannot agree with the statements.
Spokesman Abdul Rasheed for PDM agreed with Panhwar saying to the Anadolu Agency without scientific proof it is inappropriate to blame the power plants in India. The blame by the Sindh government is on the federal water and power ministry claiming the deaths are due to long power cuts.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the federal government places blame on the Pakistan Peoples Party administration in Sindh for the deaths. Sharif says the deaths can be blamed on that administration for not taking adequate health measures that could have saved hundreds of lives.
While the hospitals battle to handle the influx of heat stroke victims there is blame all around by officials why people are dying during the heatwave and what caused the high temperatures.