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June 22, 2015

Unbearable heat kills 146 in Karachi


June 22, 2015

At least 146 deaths on account of heat stroke, dehydration and other heat-related complications were reported at the city’s major hospitals since Saturday night.
Till midnight on Sunday, 146 deaths were confirmed at various government hospitals. The highest number of deaths, 100, was reported at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, followed by 30 at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
“Around 75 people were brought to the JPMC from across the city suffering from haemorrhage, fever, kidney failure and other symptoms on Sunday, including those who passed away,” JPMC joint executive director Dr Seemin Jamali told The News.
Moreover, she added, 25 of the patients who were already admitted to the hospital also expired.
Dr Faheem, the in-charge of the emergency department at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, said 30 people died at his medical facility.
Dr Salma Kausar, the medical and health services senior director at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, said until 10:30pm on Sunday, 13 bodies were brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital while seven of the patients already admitted there also passed away.
Seven other people had died at the hospital a day earlier.
Kausar said according to preliminary figures available with her, more than 100 people had been brought to KMC-run hospitals across the city suffering from heat stroke, dehydration and other heat-related complications.
Eight deaths were reported at the Civil Hospital Karachi. Senior medico-legal officer Dr Nisar Ahmed Shah said six bodies - two men, two women and two children - were brought to the hospital on Sunday.
However, till the filing of this report by 11:30pm, two more people were reported to have died at the Civil hospital.
Nine deaths were reported at the Lyari General Hospital. Officials said the bodies arrived from various parts of Lyari.
Two employees of the Karachi Port Trust had passed away on Saturday while working in Keamari.
Their bodies

were brought to the Jinnah hospital late Saturday night. The workers had died of brain haemorrhage caused by excessive sweating.
The actual death toll might actually be higher as many people passed away at home and their deaths were not reported at any hospital.
No space at mortuary
The only public mortuary in the city ran out of space to keep the bodies of the people who died of heat-related complications.
Edhi spokesperson Anwar Kazmi said the mortuary received around 130 bodies in the past 24 hours, which was about five times more than the usual number per day.
He said many families had brought the bodies for safekeeping and most people had died at home after their health condition worsened on the hottest days of the year.
When asked to shed some light on the large number of deaths on account of the extremely hot weather, Ghulam Mujtaba Memon, a senior general physician, said excessive loss of water because of sweating put extra pressure on the body’s other organs.
He said blood loses water and becomes thicker which puts extra pressure on the kidneys and the heart, causing their failure.
It also raised blood pressure which often led to a stroke.
Dr Memon said other reasons could also include acute gastrointestinal infections that might have contributed to the large number of deaths across the city.
Heat wave to persist
The Met department has predicted that the weather in the city will remain hot and humid in the next 24 hours.
The maximum temperature recorded in the city was 42.5 degrees Celsius and minimum 33 degrees Celsius, while the humidity was 25 percent.
Tempers flared across Karachi on Sunday as enraged citizens in different areas of the city, having had enough of putting up with unannounced power outages in the sizzling summer heat especially when most of them were fasting, took to the streets to vent their frustration.
Citizens torched tyres and blocked roads in in Liaquatabad, North Nazimaabad, Nazimabad, Orangi Town, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Baldia Town. In some areas, residents also attacked KE offices.
The protesters complained that despite the prime minister’s announcement that there would be no power outages at sehri and iftar, the KE was suspending electricity supply to their areas at these times.
They added that the KE had increased power outages under the pretext of faults.
The protesters in North Nazimabad set their electricity bills on fire.
The residents of Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Orangi Town were of the opinion that merely discussing the power crisis in the parliament would not resolve the problem.
They said the KE was hoodwinking the citizens by claiming that the power outages were because of cable faults, heated wires and faulty transformers.
The residents of other areas complained as to why the KE had not taken preemptive measures to ensure that such a crisis did not arise during Ramazan.
Kashif Rana, a resident of North Nazimabad, said the KE bosses were themselves sitting in air-conditioned rooms and making the citizens of Karachi suffer.
Besides, the areas where riots broke out, prolonged spells of power cuts were also reported in Defence, Azizabad, Malir, Korangi, Surjani Town and other parts of the city.
Qamar Saeedul Haq, an engineer, said the KE officials responsible for the crisis should be taken to task.
Shumaila Yaqoob, a housewife who lives in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, also demanded action against KE officials.
Many residents complained that voltage fluctuations had damaged their electrical appliances.
Ghulam Rehan, a shopkeeper near the Nipa police kiosk, asked the prime minister to look into the matter.
“The prime minister had promised that there would be no power outages at sehri and iftar times and he should ensure that this happens,” he added.
KE’s explanation
A KE spokesperson said the power utility had fixed several faults in the city and the citizens would see a visible improvement in the electricity supply situation in the next 10 or 12 hours.
The KE spokesperson said there were still faults that had to be rectified in Federal B Area, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, the Jamshed Road area, the Abul Hasan Ispahani Road area, Shah Faisal Colony and Korangi.
He said the KE teams were facing problems in fixing faults in some areas because of the attack on their offices there and the residents’ protests.
He added that the KE was using additional staff to deal with the repair work.
The spokesperson appealed to the law enforcement agencies to provide security to their staff.
KU postpones exams
The administration of Karachi University (KU) announced that exams had been postponed due to load shedding and the heat wave. The exams were schedule to begin from Monday and a new date will be announced after Eid. — Additional input by Fasahat Mohiuddin

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