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Karachi braves 41.5°C, braces for more such days ahead


May 1, 2019

The mercury soared to 41.5 degrees Celsius in Karachi on Tuesday under the influence of hot and dry winds from the north-westerly direction, but the day passed without any untoward incident because the health and municipal authorities remained on high alert to deal with any emergency.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecast a five-day-long heatwave in Karachi, saying that the sea breeze will remain cut off towards the city during the daytime until Saturday, while hot and dry winds from the country’s plains will result in increase in the temperature with the mercury soaring up to 42°C.

“Today we witnessed the first day of a mild heat wave that was predicted for Karachi, as the temperature soared to 41.5°C, and we are expecting this wave to continue until Saturday, May 4,” Karachi Met Office chief Sardar Sarfaraz told The News.

The heatwave warning centre of the PMD in Karachi said that similar conditions, with the maximum temperature reaching up to 42°C due to north-westerly winds can prevail for the next four days, urging the authorities to remain on high alert during this period.

Officials at different public hospitals said that although they were fully prepared to deal with any emergency, no patient with heatstroke symptoms was brought to the emergency departments of any of the tertiary-care hospitals.

“No patient with heatstroke symptoms was brought to our emergency today,” said Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali. “We are fully prepared to deal with any emergency, while we have also launched an awareness campaign to educate the people about dealing with heatwaves and what to do in case of a heatstroke.”

She said they had prepared thousands of pamphlets and awareness materials that had been pasted inside the Jinnah Hospital, while they are also being shared with the people through social media. “The awareness created by us and other institutions is helping people stay safe in the scorching heat this summer.”

On the other hand, people flocked to the camps set up by the Sindh Rangers, the Karachi police, Al-Khidmat Welfare Organisation and many other organisations, where motorists and pedestrians were offered cold water, while shade and fans were also arranged to help people displaying heatstroke symptoms.

Heatstroke camps established by the Sindh Rangers and the Karachi police were seen in the old city area, main thoroughfares as well as near Sohrab Goth and Al-Asif Square, while Al-Khidmat and other welfare organisations set up their camps in Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Malir, old city areas and several other localities.

Experts have advised people, especially the elderly, children and labourers, to avoid being outdoors between 11am and 4pm, as the temperature would be over 40°C during the heatwave, asking the people to consume plain drinking water to remain hydrated.

Dr Shahid Ahmed, an expert of stomach diseases, said: “I urge the people to consume clean drinking water, avoid going out in the sun and also refrain from eating and drinking from roadside stalls, as they can contract water- and food-borne diseases in this hot and dry season, which may cause diarrhoea, vomiting and severe dehydration.”

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