Three people have been found dead in Karachi due to the cold as temperatures in Karachi and other parts of Sindh have dropped to lows between five to seven degrees Celsius.
Siberian winds via Balochistan have led to the weather change, according to Tauseef Alam, who is the chief meteorologist at the national seismic monitoring centre in Karachi.
The bodies were found in Kharadar, Moosa Colony and Landhi. “They were homeless heroin addicts,” said Anwaar Kazmi, an official with the Edhi Foundation, a charity network. “There are no shelters for the homeless people other than the one run by Edhi but addicts don’t like to stay at the centre because there are too many restrictions.”
Kazmi added that if the temperature drops even lower, to three or four degrees, more deaths could be expected. On average, two people a year are found dead when there is cold weather.
Cold weather across Sindh brought more bad news for those who already suffering in the aftermath of the floods. Parts of Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Tando Mohammad Khan and Badin are still populated by displaced people living outdoors in camps and on the sides of roads. Locals in the countryside say that they haven’t experienced this kind of cold in February before and if they are living in tents they can’t light fires inside. A few reports trickled in of fires from stoves being lit inside tents in relief camps.
The mean temperature for February is 8 degrees Celsius and this is measured over a span of 30 years.
“The temperatures will remain low for the next couple of days because of the winds from Balochistan and are then expected to rise again,” said Alam. Humidity has also decreased, increasing the chill factor.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s records, the lowest recorded temperature in Karachi for February was three degrees Celsius recorded on February 11, 1950.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2012.
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