The intermediate board and Karachi University delayed their exams scheduled till May 24 while madrassas gave a three-day off to their students in Karachi on Monday (today). The temperature in the city is all set to compete with the hottest day of the year.
On Sunday, the city braved the hottest day of the year so far at 44 degrees Celsius. On Monday (today), the Met Office predicts the same. Earlier, the city endured 44 degrees Celsius on May 3.
The south sizzles
Extreme weather prevails in other parts of Sindh as well. Nawabshah braved the hottest April temperature of the world this year. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Mithi experienced on Sunday the highest temperature in the country at 45 degrees Celsius. Sibbi and Karachi braved the second-highest temperature in the country at 44 degrees Celsius. Moen Jo Daro, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad and Badin were just a degree behind at 43 degrees Celsius. Similar weather conditions are likely to prevail over the next three days.
Over 1,200 people died in Pakistan in 2015 when a major heatwave hit the country. In May, the Met Office issued an advisory to the city authorities to take protective measures against the heatwave. Despite the alert, the administration set up only a handful of heatstroke prevention camps in Karachi.
“So far, we haven’t received any heatstroke patients,” said Dr Seemi Jamali, the head of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi. “But people should be careful and stay indoors. If you must step out, keep a wet towel on your head and neck.”
Losing their cool
Most parts of Karachi face intermittent water and power cuts. As a result, people continued to stage protests in different parts of the city.
“The government has turned the entire city, including Lyari, into Karbala,” said Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, the Jamaat-e-Islami’s Karachi chief, at a protest on Mauripur Road. “If the water crisis is not solved, we will block the road and encircle the water board’s office.”
Load-shedding has worsened business for tailors in Ramazan. “We get less business in the month of Ramazan,” said one tailor. “Load-shedding has made matters worse for us now.”
Karachi’s power utility, K-Electric, said on Sunday that the Bin Qasim power plant’s technical fault has been fixed. The plant had developed a fault on May 9. Despite the claims, hours long load-shedding continues in the city.
The K-Electric spokesperson said that they were ensuring electricity supply for 17 hours a day even in areas that incurred huge losses to the company. According to the utility, the technical problems with the Bin Qasim power plant created a shortfall of 700 megawatts.
As people continue to suffer for basic facilities, they have started looking elsewhere. The market for rechargeable fans has increased in the wake of load-shedding in the extreme weather. But people are worried about their next exploitation. “The prices of these fans will double due to the increasing demand,” said one man. He hopes the government will regulate their prices.