Pakistan Heat Wave Claims as Many as 140 Lives in Karachi

By Ralph Ellis and Sophia Saifi, CNN

Updated 1248 GMT (1948 HKT) June 22, 2015

2015-0623 Pakistan Heat Wave Claims as Many as 140 Lives in Karachi

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)A record-breaking heat wave baked Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, over the weekend, killing as many as 140 people.

Saturday’s temperature reached 44.8 degrees Celsius (112.64 degrees Fahrenheit) — the highest-recorded temperature in Pakistan in the last 15 years. Sunday’s temperature dipped slightly to 42.5 Celsius (108.5 F).

Local media reports cited a death toll higher than what the government reported.

Some outlets put the number of dead as high as 140. Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, the health minister for Sindh province, said 124 people had died as of Monday morning.

“Hospitals across the city are overcrowded due to record numbers of patients suffering from heat stroke,” he said. “The numbers are unprecedented but the situation is under control.”

The good news: the slight temperature decline will continue over the next few days.

The bad news: it won’t dip fast enough.

Pakistanis are observing Ramadan, when Muslims around the world fast from sunup until sundown.

This means, that amidst these scorching temperatures, Pakistanis are foregoing food and water.

Making matters worse, Karachi is dealing with frequent power outages as the electricity grids are unable to keep up with the demand in the city of 20 million.

To the east, a heat wave struck India last month, killing more than 2,000 people.

CNN’s Sophia Saifi reported from Islamabad; Ralph Ellis wrote from Atlanta.


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