KARACHI: Another 105 people died of heatstroke on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 1,116 in Sindh, even though the harsh weather that has overwhelmed the province for a week subsided considerably.
Officials said the number of heatstroke patients arriving at hospitals had reduced significantly on Thursday because the weather was quite windy and, at times, cloudy, but it failed to completely stop the heatwave attacking them.
“On Thursday, at least 90 people died in Karachi and 15 in other districts of Sindh,” a government official said.
Hyderabad, Thatta, Matiari and Benazirabad were among the districts where these fatalities occurred.
According to official figures, 1,040 people have died in Karachi since Saturday and 76 in other parts of Sindh.
“We have admitted and treated heatstroke patients today as well, but their number was less than half of the daily average hitherto,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, joint executive director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, which has recorded 329 deaths since Saturday evening.
Other large facilities, like Civil Hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, also confirmed to have received fewer patients than the previous days.
Health experts said that prolonged power cuts, water shortage and fasting, especially by the elderly, made them vulnerable to heatstroke.
Most of the victims were men aged 50 or above and belonged to poor neighbourhoods of the city.
As the morgues were already full, finding body bags lying on the floor was a common sight.
Officials at public sector hospitals complained that they did not receive significant help from the provincial government; anything they got was from common people.
“People are donating generously. They have given us everything, from bottled water to medicines, for the patients,” said an official at a government-run hospital.
“Government officials and political leaders have visited patients largely for photo shoots,” he added.
An official in the provincial health department told Dawn that more than 42,000 people had been hit by the punishing heatwave in Sindh, 38,000 of them in Karachi alone.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2015