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  4. Pakistan reels under sweltering temperatures of 52 degrees, residents suffer power outages | VIDEO

Pakistan reels under sweltering temperatures of 52 degrees, residents suffer power outages | VIDEO

The town of Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh reached 52.2 degrees Celsius, close to Pakistan's all-time high of 54 degrees. People in Karachi and other cities have staged protests due to continuous power cuts, prompting the PM to address the situation.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Updated on: May 28, 2024 13:16 IST
Pakistan heatwave
Image Source : REUTERS Men ride a motorbike and use a wet cloth to avoid the scorching heat in Pakistan.

Karachi: Pakistan is reeling under an intense heatwave, with temperatures rising above 52 degrees Celsius (125.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the southern province of Sindh, which came close to the country's record high temperature and the highest reading of the summer, according to the Met office on Monday. A team of international scientists have attributed the extreme temperatures across Asia to human-driven climate change.

In Mohenjo Daro, a town in Sindh known for archaeological sites that date back to the Indus Valley Civilization built in 2500 BC, temperatures rose as high as 52.2 degrees Celsius over the last 24 hours, a senior official of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Shahid Abbas told Reuters. The reading is the highest of the summer so far and has come close to the town's and country's record highs of 53.5 degrees Celsius and 54 degrees Celsius respectively.

Mohenjo Daro's limited markets, including bakeries, tea shops, mechanics, electronic repair shops, and fruit and vegetable sellers, are usually bustling with customers. However, these shops are witnessing almost no footfall as temperatures are inching closer to a record high amid the heatwave. "The customers are not coming to the restaurant because of extreme heat. I sit idle at the restaurant with these tables and chairs and without any customers," said Wajid Ali, 32, who owns a tea stall in the town.

“Pakistan is the fifth most vulnerable country to the impact of climate change. We have witnessed above normal rains, floods,” Rubina Khursheed Alam, the prime minister’s coordinator on climate, said at a news conference last week adding that the government is running awareness campaigns due to the heatwaves.

Notably, the highest temperature recorded in Pakistan was in 2017 when temperatures rose to 54 degrees Celsius in the city of Turbat, located in the southwestern province of Balochistan. This was the second hottest in Asia and fourth highest in the world, said Sardar Sarfaraz, Chief Meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

PM to hold urgent meeting as power outages hurt people

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced that he would hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday (May 28) to address widespread complaints about power outages across the country. During the meeting, the power division will provide a comprehensive briefing to the Prime Minister on the current situation regarding load-shedding, according to ARY News.

This came after residents of Karachi staged protests, blocking major roads and disrupting traffic and daily life in the city after 36 hours of continuous power cuts and rising energy demand. A resident claimed that the electricity provider for the metropolis cut off power to the area because several households in the neighbourhood failed to pay their monthly power tariff bills.

Several rounds of negotiations have been held between the protesters and the police, however, no resolution has been reached. Last week, an electricity supplying company in Pakistan, K-Electric issued a stern warning to cut off power supply to the departments of the Sindh government over remaining dues amounting to billions of rupees, according to sources.

Prior to that, angry residents of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa restored electricity by storming into the Hazar Khawani grid station, after prolonged load-shedding led to protests amid the scorching weather. The issues of prolonged power outages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the province’s dues owed by the federal government had infuriated Chief Mini­s­ter Ali Amin Gandapur, according to Dawn.

Rain expected in some parts of Pakistan

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Sindh has issued an alert for rain, dust storms and thunderstorms in Punjab and some upper parts of the country during this week, possibly resulting in some relief from the ongoing heatwave. However, the Met Office said that heatwave-like conditions were likely during the period in some central and southern parts of the country.

According to an NDMA spokesperson, rain with wind and thunder is expected in the upper regions, while landslides may affect roads and traffic systems in upland areas. "There is a risk of flooding in local rivers and canals due to rain in the upper areas," Geo News quoted the spokesperson, adding that local departments remain alert for dealing with expected floods and landslides.

(with inputs from agencies)

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