At least 838 people are dead in Pakistan after one of the worst heat waves in a decade combined with lackluster infrastructure, water shortages and the holy month of Ramadan to cause hundreds of cases of dehydration and heat stroke. Thankfully, the area is seeing some temporary relief from the heat since Wednesday and, as a result, hospital visits are down.
“If you can call it ‘relief’, highs the past couple of days have held between 36-37 degrees Celsius, or 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit,” said weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Erdman. “But brisk winds off the Arabian Sea have kept dew points around 25C or in the oppressive upper 70s Fahrenheit.”
At its peak, the heat wave sent temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit, combining with high humidity to make for absolutely brutal conditions.
Heat index values reported at 10 a.m. GMT on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. In Sukkur, Pakistan, the combination of a 111-degree air temperature and an 81-degree dewpoint made it feel like 137 degrees Fahrenheit (58 degrees Celsius).
The situation magnified as Karachi suffered from extreme power outages and little running water, and a majority of the residents were fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Home to some 20 million people and the capital of the southern Sindh province, Karachi has long suffered under an inefficient power grid and a shortage of potable water. The power outages have also affected the city’s sporadic water supply, forcing those who can afford it rely on tankers of water being delivered to their homes.