Unbearable heat

Exacerbation caused by climate change has increased heat frequency and intensity, leading to tragic loss of life

Our Correspondent May 24, 2024


Once again, the people of Pakistan find themselves at the mercy of a relentless sun, enduring the annual heatwave that exacts a severe toll on public health. In Punjab, the mercury has soared past 50 degrees Celsius. While heatwaves are not uncommon in this region, the exacerbation caused by climate change has significantly increased their frequency and intensity, leading to tragic loss of life from heat strokes and heart attacks.

Despite the near-accurate predictions and the abundance of data available, every year the lack of preparedness on the part of the relevant authorities becomes glaringly evident. Instead of providing much-needed relief to citizens, the situation is compounded by increased loadshedding. Some parts of the country, especially in Sindh province, are experiencing half a day without electricity daily, exacerbating the suffering as water pumps fail to operate, preventing the storage of water and leading to severe water shortages. In Karachi, the frustration and desperation have reached a boiling point, with numerous areas erupting in protest against the inadequacies of the response. People are subjected to an excruciating ordeal that could be mitigated with proper planning and proactive measures. Local governments must prioritise preparedness before the onset of the summer season. Ensuring a stable electricity supply is crucial as loadshedding during such times is unacceptable and must be addressed with urgency. Additionally, alternative energy solutions and infrastructure improvements should be explored to provide a reliable power supply even during peak demand periods. Moreover, establishing health centres specifically designed for heat relief is imperative.

It is high time for the governments in all provinces to act decisively and demonstrate a commitment to the welfare of citizens. Lessons from past experiences, such as the deadly 2015 heatwave, must not be ignored and a comprehensive strategy must be developed to ensure that the sun-baked parts of the country are prepared to face the challenges of an increasingly harsh climate.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2024.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.



Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ