Hundreds Hospitalized in Pakistan Due to Extreme Heatwave

Fri May 24 2024
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ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people were hospitalized across Pakistan on Thursday after an extreme heatwave sent the mercury above normal levels due to climate change, said officials.

Doctors have been treating victims of heatstroke at hospitals all over Pakistan after temperatures reached as high as 49 degrees Celsius in Mohenjo Daro, Sindh the previous day.

The city, known for its archaeological sites, was hit badly by monsoon rains and massive floods in 2022. The heatwave is likely to continue for at least a week.

Authorities have asked people to stay indoors, drink plenty of water, and avoid unnecessary travel. But laborers say they don’t have a choice as they need to work to support their families.

Rubina Khursheed Alam, the prime minister’s coordinator on climate, at a news conference in Islamabad, said Pakistan is the fifth most vulnerable country to the climate change impact.

A civil defense official, Barakullah Khan, advised people not to place cooking gas cylinders in open areas as a precautionary measure. He warned people living near open fields that scorpions and snakes could enter houses and storage places in search of cooler places.

Temperatures are expected to soar to 55 C

According to weather forecasters, temperatures are expected to soar to 55 C in some parts of the country.

Doctors say they are treating hundreds of patients in Lahore, while scores of people were brought to hospitals in Larkana, Hyderabad, and Jacobabad districts in the Sindh province.

Ghulam Farid, a senior health official said the situation has been getting worse since yesterday, when people affected by heat started to come to hospitals in the province of Punjab province. Pakistan has established emergency response centers at hospitals to treat people affected by the heat.

Health officials said the government-owned ambulance service was now carrying bottled water and ice to provide emergency treatment to the heat victims.

The United Nations children’s agency has appealed to protect children from the extreme 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 added said the rising temperatures across the region could put millions of children’s health at risk if they are not hydrated and protected.

Heatstroke is a serious health problem that occurs when one’s body temperature rises too quickly, causing some to fall unconscious. Severe heatstroke can also cause death or permanent disability.

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