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June 24, 2015

Death toll in Karachi heatwave mounts to 748

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June 24, 2015


KARACHI: The brutal heatwave coupled with prolonged power loadshedding and water shortages in Karachi claimed over 280 more lives on Tuesday, taking the total death toll due to heat stroke, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and related complications to 748 during the last four days, officials said.
The maximum temperature reached 41 degrees Celsius in Karachi on Tuesday with no promised clouds in sight and under the scorching sun, ambulances of private welfare organisations continued to transport heat stroke patients to public heat stroke patients to public and private hospitals, which are already packed to capacity and unable to cope with highest number of patients coming with acute dehydration, unconsciousness and other complications of heat and sun stroke.
But unofficial figures indicated that deaths due to intense heat could be over 1,000 as many public and private hospitals in the city were either not sharing figures with the officials and media or were unapproachable to the media.
“More than 70 patients died at JPMC on Tuesday alone, mostly elderly, who were brought in extremely critical condition at the health facility. We received over 1,750 patients since Monday night,” Joint Executive Director Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Dr Seemi Jamali told The News.
The Pakistan Army also established its heat relief centre at JPMC where military doctors and paramedics along with JPMC staff provided first aid to heat stroke patients, Dr Jamali said, adding that the Pakistan Army had established 12-bed facility at the JPMC, which was quite a relief for patients and hospital officials.
On the other hand, Sindh Rangers’ relief centres established at its 10 headquarters throughout Karachi started functioning and officials claimed that they treated 415 patients with complaints of heat stroke, dehydration, diarrhoea and electrolyte imbalance.
A spokesman for Sindh Rangers said their doctors and paramedics were present at each relief

centre and each centre had the facility of ICU, evaluation and examination centre and detention ward, and added that most of the 415 patients brought to Rangers relief centre were citizens above 50 years age.
Aga Khan University Hospital for the first time in three days announced 20 deaths due to heat related complications, saying 20 patients died during treatment during last two days at the hospital, while AKUH was not admitting any more patients due to lack of capacity.
Civil Hospital Karachi also confirmed at least 100 deaths during last three days due to heat stroke and dehydration and its Medical Superintendent Dr Saeed Qureshi said as many as 30 patients died till Tuesday evening at the hospital, who had been brought to the health facility from different areas of the city.
Liaquat National Hospital also confirmed 67 deaths at the hospital during last three days, including 37 who died during treatment while 28 who were brought dead at the hospital’s emergency ward.
A spokesman for LNH Anjum Rizvi said 22 deaths due to heat stroke had been reported at the hospital till Monday night while remaining deaths and person brought dead were reported on Tuesday.
At least 10 more deaths were reported from the Indus Hospital Korangi, Karachi on Tuesday and total figure of deaths at the hospital crossed 41 during last three days while more deaths were reported from various hospitals of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Sindh government hospitals in the city on Tuesday.
The death toll from all KMC-run hospitals surpassed 115 including Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, which was 71 till Monday midnight, senior Director Health of KMC Dr Salma Kauser said, adding that all the KMC hospitals were overburdened with the patients and despite lack of capacity, heat stroke patients were still pouring in hundreds during each hour.
There were also reports of dozens of deaths at National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) but despite confirmation of deaths due to heat stroke by lower-level staff, high-ups of these hospitals were not confirming any deaths due to intense heat and related complications.
At least 17 patients had also died during treatment due to heat stroke at Lyari General Hospital where hundreds of patients were being treated for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance while deaths were also being reported from Sindh government hospitals of Liaquatabad, New Karachi, Korangi and Malir areas.At least 35 patients also died during treatment at different centres of Ziauddin Hospital in North Nazimabad, Keamari and Clifton, officials said.
Our correspondent adds from Islamabad: Opposition parties in the National Assembly have announced to observe mourning day on Friday over the death of hundreds of people in heat wave in Karachi and other areas.
On Tuesday, the opposition members offered twice Ghaibana Nimaz-e-Janaza (funeral in absentia) outside the Parliament House for those who lost their lives due to heat wave and loadshedding.
For the first time, all opposition parties attended Nimaz-e-Janaza which was led by parliamentary leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Sahibzada Tariqullah.Second time, the JI’s Sher Akbar led the Nimaz-e-Janaza which was attended by NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and others.




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