Over 500 dead due to extreme heat in Pakistan

As temperatures soar in southern Pakistan, the death toll continues to rise. The Edhi ambulance service reports that the Karachi city morgue typically receives 30 to 40 bodies daily. However, in the past six days, approximately 568 bodies have been brought in. On Tuesday alone, there were 141 deaths.

Publication: 27.06.2024 - 12:19
Over 500 dead  due to extreme heat in Pakistan
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It's still too early to pinpoint the exact cause of each death. Nevertheless, the increase in fatalities is attributed to Karachi’s temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius and the high humidity making it feel as hot as 49 degrees.

Dr. Imran Sarwar Sheikh, head of the emergency unit at Karachi Civil Hospital, stated that between Sunday and Wednesday, 267 people were treated for heatstroke, with 12 fatalities. "Most of the patients were in their 60s or 70s, but we also saw individuals in their 40s and even a couple in their 20s," Dr. Sheikh told the BBC.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and high fever. "Most of those affected work outdoors. We've advised them to stay hydrated and wear light clothing."


This intense heat, described as a "partial heatwave," started over the weekend. Heat centers and camps have been set up in the region, but not everyone in need could reach a hospital.

Wasim Ahmed knew he felt unwell when he came home. The 56-year-old security guard had just finished a 12-hour night shift outdoors and found the heat unbearable even then.

"He walked in and said he couldn't cope with this heat," his cousin, Adnan Zafar, told the BBC. "He asked for a glass of water, and shortly after finishing it, he collapsed."

Medics said he likely died of a heart attack. His cousin mentioned that Wasim had a heart condition but had never been affected by the heat before.


Karachi's struggle with the high temperatures is exacerbated by regular power outages that make air conditioning usage difficult. This is part of a widespread practice by the electric board to conserve supply across Pakistan.

According to Dawn newspaper, about 30 people were found dead on the city streets. Police told the paper that while many were suspected drug addicts, there were no signs of injury on the bodies.

Karachi is not the only region in Pakistan struggling with the heat. Last month, Sindh province, where Karachi is located, recorded temperatures of 52.2 degrees, according to Reuters.


Pakistan's neighbors have also experienced extreme and deadly heat in recent weeks. In India, the capital, Delhi, has faced an "unprecedented" heatwave, with daily temperatures nearing 50 degrees since May.

Doctors in the city say they have never seen anything like this before. Experts agree that such extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.