At least 65 people have died because of a heatwave in Pakistan’s Karachi over the last three days, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing the social welfare organisation, the Edhi Foundation. The toll is expected to climb as the high temperatures persist.
On Monday, temperatures reached a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department. The average daily high for the month of May in Karachi is 35 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature was around 44 degrees Celsius on Tuesday as well.
Power outages have only worsened the situation. Besides, many Muslims in the city are fasting for the holy month of Ramzan.
Faisal Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation, which operates morgues and ambulance services in Karachi, said most people died in the poor areas of Karachi. “Sixty-five people have died over the last three days,” Edhi told Reuters. “We have the bodies in our cold storage facilities and their neighborhood doctors have said they died of heat-stroke.”
Sindh province’s Health Secretary Fazlullah Pechuho, however, dismissed the claims. “Only doctors and hospitals can decide whether the cause of death was heat stroke or not,” Pechuho told Dawn. “I categorically reject that people have died due to heat stroke in Karachi.”
There has not been a single heat stroke patient in Karachi hospitals over the last three days, he claimed.