Karachi Heatwave: 20 deaths reported in 2 days, 1500 hospitalized as temperatures soar to 42°C

Karachi is currently experiencing a severe heatwave that has claimed 20 lives and resulted in 1,592 hospitalizations over the past 24 hours, as citywide temperatures soared to 42°C on June 24, Monday, marking the hottest day of the year in Karachi.

Several people fell unconscious in the city and some of them later died, according to local media.

Dr. Nosheen, the emergency ward in-charge at Jinnah Hospital, reported that 20 individuals died during treatment, with an additional 29 brought in dead.

In the last two days, at least 10 more bodies were brought to various hospitals in Karachi. Rescue services and health officials noted that these bodies had no injury marks. Many of the deceased were identified as chronic drug addicts who likely succumbed to the extreme heat.

Police Surgeon Summaiya Syed explained that the bodies were referred to emergency departments of three government hospitals. “There were no injury marks on their bodies. Their appearance and what the ambulance drivers narrated suggested that they were drug addicts found on footpaths or roadsides,” she said. She added that these deaths are being treated as suspected heatstroke cases.

Heatwave relief camp in Pakistan
Heatwave relief camp set up by Pakistani charity organization Alkhidmat Foundation Sindh in Sanghar, Sindh, during Mat 2024. (Image Credit: Alkhidmat)

Heat-related deaths reported from across the city

On Monday, the bodies of two unidentified men, aged 20 and 35, were brought from Sharea Faisal and Landhi to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. A man in his 50s, found gasping on the roadside, was taken to Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi by Eidgah police, but he died during treatment.

The Gulberg police reported finding the body of an unidentified man, aged 40-45, in Karimabad, which was then moved to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. In the evening, the body of a 50-year-old unidentified woman was recovered from Green Town, according to an Edhi Foundation spokesperson.

Edhi ambulances also brought bodies from UP Mor in North Karachi and Mominabad in Orangi. Faisal Edhi, head of the Edhi Foundation, noted a three-fold increase in the number of bodies received at their mortuaries over the past two days. The Moosa Lane mortuary usually receives five to seven bodies daily, but on June 23, it received 35. The Korangi mortuary, which typically gets five to six bodies daily, saw 10 bodies on Sunday.

Sohrab Goth’s morgue, which normally receives 30 to 35 bodies daily, handled 95 bodies on Sunday. Edhi officials reported receiving 30 bodies at Moosa Lane, 12 at Korangi, and 58 at Sohrab Goth on June 22. All deceased were brought by their families, though the cause of death wasn’t formally recorded.

Shahid Husain, a spokesperson for relief organization Chhipa, reported that their ambulances transported seven bodies on Monday and 10 on Sunday from various localities.

Increase in hospitalization

Hospitals have seen a significant surge in heat-related illnesses. Dr. Liaquat Ali Halo of CHK reported that 300 to 400 patients with heat-related issues, including heatstroke, visited their emergency and outpatient departments.

On Monday, more than 1,500 victims of heatstroke were treated at other hospitals in the city, according to local media.

The intense heat, worsened by a lack of sea breeze, is expected to persist until June 27, according to the MET office. Authorities have advised residents to limit outdoor activities between 10 AM and 4 PM to mitigate heat-related health risks.

Gulistan-e-Johar recorded the highest temperature at 43.7°C, followed by the airport area at 42.8°C, and Shahrah-e-Faisal at 40.5°C. Maripur also faced extreme heat, with temperatures reaching 40.2°C. The city’s average temperature stood at 42.6°C, underlining the severity of the ongoing heatwave.
The MET office has forecast that the extreme weather will continue for the next two days, with temperatures ranging between 38°C and 40°C.

Chief Meteorologist Dr. Sardar Sarfaraz explained that a low-pressure area southeast of Karachi is blocking the sea breeze, exacerbating the hot conditions. He added that temperatures are expected to drop from June 26.

Showers expected to bring relief from relentless heat

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted the possibility of strong winds and rain with thunderstorms starting from June 26 and continuing until July 1, a change in weather expected to bring much-needed relief from the relentless heat.

According to the PMD, areas including Karachi, Hyderabad, Matiari, Sanghar, Badin, and other districts may experience intermittent heavy rainfall, with some locations seeing intense showers. The intensity of the heat is expected to start decreasing from tomorrow.

The weather in Karachi has begun to change rapidly, prompting the PMD to issue a new advisory predicting rainfall on June 26. This advisory extends to other cities in Sindh as well.

In Balochistan, rain, wind, and thunderstorms are expected in Lasbella, Khuzdar, Awaran, Jhal Magsi, Kalat, Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Zhob, and Barkhan from June 26 to 28.

For Gilgit-Baltistan, areas such as Diamir, Astore, Ghizer, Skardu, Hunza, Gilgit, Ghanche, and Shigar, as well as regions in Kashmir including Neelum Valley, Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Poonch, Hattian, Bagh, Haveli, Sudhanoti, Kotli, Bhimber, and Mirpur, can expect rain, wind, and thunderstorms from June 28 to July 1, with occasional gaps.

In Punjab, cities including Islamabad, Murree, Galliyat, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Wazirabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Narowal, Sahiwal, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Nankana Sahib, Chiniot, Faisalabad, Okara, Kasur, Khushab, Sargodha, Bhakkar, and Mianwali may experience rain or thundershowers from June 27.

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