Thursday July 18, 2024

Heatwave scorches most parts of Sindh as mercury soars to 51°C

By Our Correspondent
May 26, 2024
Men sleep on benches under the shade of trees at a park on a hot summer afternoon in Karachi on May 24, 2024. — AFP
Men sleep on benches under the shade of trees at a park on a hot summer afternoon in Karachi on May 24, 2024. — AFP

Various cities across Sindh, including Karachi, experienced intense heat on Saturday as temperatures significantly exceeded typical ranges.

Mohenjodaro recorded the country’s highest temperature on Friday, reaching a scorching 51°C, marking it the epicentre of the province’s intensifying heatwave.

Today, temperatures in Karachi, Dadu, Jacobabad, and other Sindh cities surged multiple degrees above usual. According to data from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Karachi saw temperatures of 37°C, which is over two degrees above the usual summer temperature. Additionally, Dadu also experienced high temperature, reaching 49.5°C, exceeding normal levels by four.

In Jacobabad, temperatures soared to an unprecedented 50°C on Thursday, prompting extensive medical responses as more individuals suffered due to the severe heatwave. At Jacobabad’s Civil Hospital, numerous patients, both men and women, were treated for heatstroke and heat exhaustion, receiving intravenous treatments as temperatures reached 48°C.

In preparation for the severe heat, over a thousand camps were established across Sindh last week. Disaster management authorities implemented these measures to aid those affected and to mitigate the occurrence of heatstroke and other heat-related ailments.

Pakistan is currently grappling with a severe heatwave, expected to worsen in the coming days. According to the Met Office, this heatwave will be followed by two additional ones in early and late June. Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz predicts that the current conditions will persist until the first week of June.

The extreme temperatures are often accompanied by power shortages, with some regions facing up to 15 hours of loadshedding daily, as reported by local media. Despite contributing less than 1% to global greenhouse gas emissions, Pakistan’s susceptibility to extreme weather events, which scientists attribute to climate change, is on the rise.

However, according to Geo News, the CEO of K-Electric, Moonis Alvi, says that if the citizens of Karachi pay their bills, there will be no loadshedding. He claimed that there is no loadshedding in 70% of Karachi’s areas. He said Karachi’s citizens owe K-Electric 70 billion rupees; therefore, if the citizens of Karachi pay their bills, there will be no loadshedding.

Owing to the heatwave, schools across the province have postponed exams originally scheduled for last week, including in Karachi. Furthermore, starting today, half of the country’s students were barred from attending school for a week as part of emergency measures to counter the effects of the heatwaves. In Punjab, about 26 million students are starting their summer break a week early due to the extreme heat.

The Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has issued a warning that the heatwave in Punjab is expected to last until Monday, with temperatures potentially climbing to between 45°C and 48°C. The PDMA spokesperson emphasized that the heatwave might be particularly severe in southern Punjab districts such as Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, DG Khan, and Multan. All relevant departments have been instructed to remain vigilant to address any emergencies, and the public is being informed about the risks of the heatwave through various media outlets.