Heat wave to continue as sunstroke kills 18 in Pakistan

19:48, May 27, 2010      

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Birds gasp for cool breeze, school kids faint in scorching sun, as meteorology experts predict another merciless hot day ahead on Thursday and the monster heat wave to continue across Pakistan.

The consistent heat wave claimed 18 lives in Pakistan on Wednesday that experienced the highest temperature of 54 degrees in Moenjodaro of southern Sindh province. It broke the 16-year-old provincial heat record.

The hottest temperature was followed by the adjacent city of Larkana with 53 degrees centigrade and 52.2 degrees centigrade in Nawabshah, the hometown of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari.

"The northern parts of the country will get a relief in temperature within 12-16 hours while Sindh's arid zone would experience heat for another 24 hours," Muhammad Hanif, Director of the Meteorological Department commented.

"The month of March was recorded as the hottest in the history of the country," Hanif recalled saying that such a heat was recorded in 1998.

"Where the hell we should go," screamed Razia, mother of four sobbing minor children sitting outside home braving hot winds, as there was no electricity and water inside home in the downtown garrison city of Rawalpindi. The city is adjacent to the Pakistani capital Islamabad that experienced 45 degrees centigrade on Wednesday and is keeping its high temperature on Thursday.

It is not just the heat wave, people's miseries have been multiplied many folds by frequent, prolonged and unscheduled power cutdowns, unchecked skyrocketing prices of essentials and unemployment that have turned people neurotic, an analyst observed.

The country is experiencing a severe power crisis with a shortfall of 4,800 Mega Watts, which has forced the electric supplying companies to go for loadshedding that reaches 12-16 hours in most parts of the country. It has crippled businesses and routine life triggering nationwide protests.

Interestingly, the prolonged power outages have forced the employees of the premier Water and Power Development Authority ( WAPDA), in a small town in southern Sindh province to take out a rally against their employer to protest consistent power breakdowns in recent days.

The sweltering heat has forced the consumption of ice and cold drinks, melons and water melons, which are generally consumed in unhygienic conditions leading to outbreaks of multiple water borne diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis and dehydration, health officials said.

The spread of fatal diseases is generally water borne, as the ice factories and bottlers (both water and soft drinks) skip the standards to make quick bucks, a National Health Laboratories (NHL) official in Islamabad told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

According to a recent survey, more than 50 percent of the 63 samples of bottled water in Pakistan were found infected.

Source: Xinhua


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