Doctors treat hundreds of heatstroke victims as Pakistan hit by heatwave

23 May 2024, 20:14

Volunteers provide lime sugar water to people at a camp set up to prevent heat stroke in Karachi
Pakistan Heat Wave Weather. Picture: PA

The extreme temperatures are forecast to continue for at least a week.

Doctors were treating hundreds of victims of heatstroke at hospitals across Pakistan on Thursday after an intense heatwave sent temperatures above normal levels due to climate change, officials said.

Temperatures hit 49C the previous day in Mohenjo Daro. The city, known for its archaeological sites, is in southern Sindh province.

The heatwave is forecast to continue for at least a week.

Authorities have urged people to stay indoors, hydrate and avoid unnecessary travel. But labourers said they did not have a choice because they needed to work to feed their families.

“Pakistan is the fifth most vulnerable country to the impact of climate change. We have witnessed above-normal rains, floods,” Rubina Khursheed Alam, the prime minister’s co-ordinator on climate, said at a news conference in the capital, Islamabad.

Barakullah Khan, a civil defence official, asked people not to place cooking gas cylinders in open areas as a safety measure. He also warned those living near fields that snakes and scorpions could enter homes and storage places in search of cooler places.

Temperatures were likely to hit 55C this month, weather forecasters said.

Heatstroke patients receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi
Emergency response centres have been set up at hospitals to help people affected by the heat (Fareed Khan/AP)

Doctors said they had treated hundreds of patients in the eastern city of Lahore, while scores of people were brought to hospitals in Hyderabad, Larkana and Jacobabad districts in the southern Sindh province.

“The situation has been getting worse since yesterday, when people affected by heat started coming to hospitals in the Punjab province,” said Ghulam Farid, a senior health official.

Pakistan has set up emergency response centres at hospitals to treat patients affected by the heat.

The state-run ambulance service is now carrying bottled water and ice to provide emergency treatment to victims of the heat, health officials said.

The United Nations children’s agency appealed for youngsters to be protected from the heat.

“Unicef is deeply concerned about the health and safety of babies and young children as debilitating heatwave conditions take hold in several countries,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, Unicef regional director for South Asia.

He said the increasing temperatures across the region could put millions of children’s health at risk if they were not protected and hydrated.

Heatstroke is a serious illness that occurs when a person’s body temperature rises too quickly, potentially causing some to fall unconscious. Severe heatstroke can cause disability or death.

This year, Pakistan recorded its wettest April since 1961, with more than double the usual monthly rainfall. Last month’s heavy rains killed scores of people, while also destroying property and farmland.

Volunteers provide lime sugar water at a camp set up to prevent heat stroke in Karachi
Temperatures were likely to hit 55C this month, weather forecasters said (Fareed Khan/AP)

Daytime temperatures are soaring 8C above May’s temperatures, raising fears of flooding in the northwest because of glacial melting.

Monsoon rains and devastating floods in 2022 caused extensive damage in Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, as 1,739 people were killed across the country.

Currently, Pakistan’s southwest and northwestern areas are also experiencing the heatwave.

Authorities have shut schools for a week in Punjab. In the city of Lahore, people were seen swimming in roadside canals.

On Thursday, Save the Children said more than half of Pakistan’s school age children — about 26 million — will be locked out of classrooms for a week because of the heatwave.

Pakistan says that despite contributing less than 1% to carbon emissions, it is bearing the brunt of global climate disasters.

Ms Alam said recent erratic changes in weather patterns were the result of man-made climate change.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

This image provided by Tamatha Bibbo, principal of the Pollard Middle School in Needham, Massachusetts, shows 23 sets of twins who graduated from Pollard Middle School

Double take: 23 sets of twins graduate from single Massachusetts middle school

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich waves and smiles as he stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the First Appeals Court of General Jurisdiction in Moscow, Russia, on April 23 2024

US reporter Evan Gershkovich, held in Russia on espionage charges, to face trial

The 'Happy Days' actor shared a grinning selfie with Dublin Fire Brigade

Happy Days for The Fonz: Henry Winkler thanks firefighters after blaze at Dublin hotel

Rishi Sunak with Italian PM Giorgia Meloni

Rishi Sunak receives warm welcome at G7 summit as he reunites with Italian PM

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky walks past various international flags on arrival at the G7 in Borgo Egnazia, Italy

How will move to lend Ukraine billions backed by Russia’s frozen assets work?

G7 leaders at the summit in southern Italy

G7 summit opens with deal to use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine

A tourist fans a companion in front of the the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens

Heatwave forces Greek authorities to shut Acropolis in afternoon for second day

Bulgarian former prime minister Boyko Borissov, leader of the centre-right GERB party

Bulgarian ex-premier Borissov offers coalition but does not want job again

A Polish soldier patrols the border with Belarus

Poland reintroduces restrictions along Belarus border due to migration pressures

Eric Calibet smiling in a black t-shirt with his arms spread out.

Retired US cop missing on Greek island days after Michael Mosley's body found - as temperatures hit 40 degrees

Leonardo Donno, of the 5-Star Movement (centre top), is protected by other politicians during the brawl in the lower house of Italy's Parliament

Fight erupts in Italian Parliament amid tension over expanding regional autonomy

One driver had to be rescued from the floods by helicopter

Floods in Spanish tourist hotspot cause chaos, as trapped driver hauled from car by rescue workers in helicopter

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses the media after receiving the results of the European Parliament elections

Top EU court fines Hungary 200m euros for flouting asylum law

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (left) arrives for bilateral talks on the sidelines of a Nato defence ministers' meeting in Brussels

Nato defence ministers thrash out Ukraine security aid and training support plan

Middle terrace at ruins of Ancient Kameiros, Kalavarda, Rhodes (Rodos), The Dodecanese, South Aegean Region, Greece

Rhodes hit by 4.8-magnitude earthquake as holidaymakers describe 'the whole airport shaking'

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa meets senior officials of his African National Congress party

South African parties cobble together unity government before electing president