KARACHI: The race is on for the establishment of heatstroke centres in Karachi. To win that race, the Sindh government has also jumped into the fray by establishing 60 heatstroke centres, several of which were devoid of electricity on Sunday.
Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said that the relief camps were set up for the victims of heatstroke on the directives of the Sindh chief minister. According to the Gulberg assistant commissioner, Sumera Hussain, the centres have been established to provide relief to the people on the roads. "We have established centres at those sites that are easily accessible by vulnerable people," she said. "The town health management is also supervising these camps."
There are two heatstroke centers in Gulberg: one at Al Hamra Lawn and the other at Nasirabad, Block 14. According to the town health officer, Dr Tajuddin at Al-Hamra Lawn, Gulberg Chowrangi, their heatstroke centre, which was only operational in a small room of the marriage lawn's booking office, was devoid of electric supply since Saturday night. "The power came back at 9:30am and went out again at 1pm," he told The Express Tribune, adding that their ice blocks had melted a long time ago due to the heat. "The purpose of this centre is to provide first aid, not the actual treatment."
Taj explained that the camp had been established three days earlier but hardly any heatstroke patients had visited it as there were several hospitals in the area where people preferred to go.
Hussain claimed she was aware of the power breakdown, but couldn't do anything about it as there was a genuine fault at two grid stations of the K-Electric on Saturday night. "We are continuously in touch with the power utility and have asked them to exempt the heatstroke centers from load-shedding," she said. "But what can we do with the technical faults?"
Meanwhile, the superintendent engineer, Fazal Mehmood, who was supervising the heatstroke camp under the Nipa flyover was sitting on the bed meant for heatstroke patients. "This camp was set up on June 24 and no major case of heatstroke came here," he said. "We even have a Chhipa ambulance stationed just outside our tent, but it has not been brought to use yet."
The newly appointed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) administrator, Roshan Ali Shaikh, met all the department heads of the municipality on Sunday and ordered to halt all the contractors' payments till further notice. For Shaikh, the payment of staff salary and pensions was his first priority.
He also instructed the director-general of the technical services department to ensure green net and lighting arrangement at all development sites with the KMC boards displaying the name and phone number of the relevant officials. He also ordered to remove illegal and unauthorised hoardings and billboards in the city immediately.
50 more graves dug
According to the graveyards assistant director, Abdur Rehman, fifty more graves have been dug in Muhammad Shah graveyard, as the number of funerals was not decreasing. "14 funerals have been brought today (Saturday) out of which 11 had died of heatstroke," he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.
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