Around 140 people died in a sudden heat wave over the weekend in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi and surrounding Sindh province — the latest incidence of lethally hot weather to have affected the subcontinent over the past month.
While most of the victims were men above 50, the heat wave also killed six women and five children, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, placing the total death toll at 136. Pakistani news channel Geo TV reported a death toll of 140, citing provincial health secretary Saeed Mangnejo.
Around 130 of the fatalities were recorded since Saturday in Karachi, which has experienced temperatures of 45°C — the hottest this year. More lives were lost in the rest of Sindh province, where temperatures hit 48°C.
Dr. Seemin Jamali, head of the state-run Jinnah Medical Centre, told reporters that over 100 people had died at the hospital. “They all died of heat stroke,” she said.
The adverse effects of the heat wave have been exacerbated by frequent power outages and the fact that most Pakistanis are fasting from dawn to dusk for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A similar heat wave swept Pakistan’s neighbor India less than a month ago, with more than 2,000 people across several Indian states dying from unusually high temperatures in late May.