The Pakistan Meteorological Department warned of a heatwave that would affect Karachi at least till Sunday, with the mercury hitting 40ºC. Indeed, in recent days, some parts of Sindh have seen even higher temperatures; for example, Dadu recorded 46ºC last week.
The heatwave that struck Karachi in June 2015 took a devastating toll on the city as around 1,300 lives were lost due to the extreme weather event. At that time administration seemed to be caught unaware to deal with the situation and people in huge numbers died. Central and Southern parts of Pakistan see high temperature in summer but last year’s heatwave was particularly deadly for Karachi, as the highest number of fatalities occurred in the metropolis.
It is the end of April and mercury is expected to rise in coming months and metrological offices have warned for a heatwave in Karachi and other cities of Sindh province. Scorching heat and electricity breakdowns made it difficult for the people to deal with the situation as temperatures hovered in the mid-40s already. Considering the warnings, concerned authorities should prepare itself to deal with a similar emergency situation as experts have forecast another hot summer for the country.
Government should launch an awareness campaign for the people regarding safety measures during the heatwave. Administration should set up first response centers and other relief facilities for masses during extreme hot weather. These points would provide immediate help to the victims. A public information campaign should be launched to advise citizens on what to do in case of heatstroke, where to call for help and how to locate the nearest response center.
Extreme weathers are beyond man’s ability to control, but reducing its negative effects is quite possible.