The death toll in Pakistan rose this weekend as cities -- including Karachi and Sindh -- experienced temperatures up to 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Various media outlets' casualty estimates ranged from 120 to 237 as the country began to recover Monday from a crashed electricity grid and packed facilities, the Express Tribune reported.
At morgues, authorities were instructing families of victims to inter them immediately, senior nonprofit official Anwar Kazmi told Reuters. "We are urging people to bury their dead at the earliest [opportunity] in view of the current heat wave and poor power situation," said Kazmi, who works for the Edhi Foundation. "We have not run out of capacity at the morgue but buried 30 unclaimed bodies this morning to create more space."
The extreme weather coincided with the start of Ramadan, a monthlong Muslim observance where followers fast during daylight hours. Karachi's private power company, K-Electric, had assured residents it could handle the demand for water and air-conditioning during the nightly iftar meals, but the grid ultimately crashed. In response, people began protesting and lighting fires in the streets, Dunya News reported.
— The Express Tribune (@etribune) June 22, 2015
— AbbTakk (@AbbTakk) June 22, 2015
The heat wave began Saturday and continued Sunday, when temperatures decreased to about 108 degrees Fahrenheit. It was scheduled to last through Wednesday, at which point meteorologists predicted thunderstorms would cool the area.
In the meantime, officials urged residents -- especially the elderly -- to stay indoors. “If possible, the citizens are advised not to leave homes for as long it’s hot out there,” an unnamed expert told Pakistan Today. “Taking precautions is a must as it could mean the difference between life and death in the prevailing weather conditions.”
— Dunya TV (@DunyaNews) June 22, 2015