KARACHI: Keep yourself hydrated and avoid staying under direct sunlight this weekend as the met office has issued a heat wave warning from Friday to Monday.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), a high pressure cell is forcing the winds to change directions from south-west to north-west. This will bring hot and dry air mass to Karachi and other coastal areas, cutting off the sea breeze.
Today, the temperature will gradually rise to 38°C and will reach 40°C by Sunday, said the met office warning on the PMD website. The temperature will start decreasing attaining normal levels for April by Wednesday. The winds will start blowing from the sea restoring the pleasant breeze, it added.
As temperature rises, city goes into preparatory mode
This heat wave will be considerably milder than the one in July last year, PMD regional director Abdul Rashid told The Express Tribune. “In the month of April, the temperature usually soars to 40°C for a day or two,” he said, adding that this is not an unusual occurrence.
Health dept preparations
Nevertheless, the health department and the city administration have swung into preparatory mode. With the help of the local government, an effective plan has been prepared, said health secretary Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo. All arrangements at hospitals and with ambulance-service providers have been completed, he said. If a serious situation arises, the first relief response centres established in government buildings, schools and wedding halls will become functional, said Karachi commissioner Asif Hyder Shah. “The deputy commissioners of different districts have identified the places to set up first relief response centres,” he said. “There will be around 800 ambulances in the city,” he said, adding that all ambulance services of the city, such as Edhi, Chhipa and Aman Foundation, are on board.
Heatwave likely to hit by end May or early June: Met dept
In the past, the load always falls on one major government hospital but, this time, we have taken private hospitals on board as well, said Shah. Ambulances have been asked to take patients to the closest hospital in emergency cases, he added.
Meanwhile, the capacity at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) has been enhanced to 800 patients at a time, he said. At the local government level, 12 heat stroke centres have been established at Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) hospitals, said KMC medical and health services senior director Dr Muhammad Ali Abbasi. The dispensaries that have been transferred to the District Municipal Corporations (DMCs) have been provided medicines, he said.
Dr Abbasi urged people to stay hydrated and stay under sheds. For those waiting at bus stops, he encouraged them to find shade.
The electricity utility, K-Electric, has added 58 new feeders and 2,000 pole-mounted transformers in their system, said a spokesperson. “We have increased our manpower and our regional control centres are active round the clock,” he said, adding that they have also stocked up on equipment in case of any power breakdowns.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.