Since Saturday, about 200 people in Karachi and the surrounding Sindh province have died because of an intense heat wave combined with power outages.
Time reported the death toll over the weekend as between 136 and 140, quoting the Pakistani newspaper Dawn at 136 and the Pakistani news channel Geo TV at 140 based on the figure given by Saeed Mangnejo, health secretary for the province of Sindh.
Dawn reported at least 63 more deaths in Karachi on Monday, bringing the number of deaths to over 200.
Most of the victims are men over 50, but the heat wave also killed women and children.
“Hundreds of patients suffering from the heat wave are being treated at government hospitals, Mangnejo told Reuters.
Temperatures were as high as 45 degrees Celsius in Karachi, a city of 20 million people, and soared to 48 degrees in the rest of the Sindh province.
Mangnejo told AFP that the provincial government had imposed a state of emergency at all hospitals, cancelling leave for all staff and increasing stocks of medical supplies.
The head of the emergency department at state-run Jinnah Hospital Dr Seemin Jamali said upwards of 100 people had died at the hospital.
“They all died of heat stroke,” she said.
What made matters worse were the frequent power outages in Karachi and the surrounding areas, which were protested by locals in several parts of the city.
The water supply system was in turn affected by the electricity cuts and many customers were left without water in the sweltering heat, not to mention air conditioning, fans and light.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has warned electric supply companies that he would not tolerate power outages during Ramadan, an official in the minister’s office said.