KARACHI: The heatwave that struck the city on Friday compelled many citizens to remain indoors on Saturday when the temperature rose to 40 degrees Celsius, while around a dozen people, including three women, fainted in different neighbourhoods, officials said .
On its first day, this ‘mild’ heatwave had perished two middle-aged men in Manghopir and Orangi.
Officials at the response centres recently established by the government said that the day passed peacefully though the people, who had fainted in different areas, were shifted to hospitals and dispensaries where they were given first aid and discharged. “We have received some people fainted or fatigued at various first response centres where they were duly treated,” said a senior official of the health ministry.
While there were media reports that a heatstroke patient had been brought dead at the Civil Hospital Karachi, doctors denied the reports. Speaking to Dawn, an official at the hospital said: “No death has been reported at the CHK due to the heatwave.”
An official at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), which had received a majority of the heatwave victims last year and recorded most of around 1,300 deaths, said it was a normal summer day with no threat to human life.
The official added: “Unfortunately, panic spread by the media and some officials frightened the general public.”
There were reports that some persons arrived at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital with complaint of heatstroke and got treatment there, but it was not officially confirmed to Dawn.
To beat the heat people went to the beaches in the evening. Shops selling ice, cold drinks and juices attracted crowds while no traffic congestion was witnessed on roads in the evening rush hours.
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) officials said they provided shelter to animals at the zoo and Safari Park to protect them from the hot weather. They said special measures had been taken to keep their cages and enclosures comfortable and cool. Besides, adequate water was being supplied to the animals and birds in captivity, they claimed.
The city administration has already opened 60 of its planned 171 response centres in view of the heatwave. The centres have been set up at government and private dispensaries. Some 500 relief centres will soon be established at public places including parks, bus stands, railway stations and marketplaces to provide water and shelter to the people.
Every response centre has a doctor with paramedics, and contained two beds, fan, towels, ice, ORS and other emergency drugs, the officials said. Besides, they added, ambulances had been made available at the centres to rush patients needing tertiary care to hospitals.
Some 58 tertiary care facilities, 27 in private hospitals, were identified to provide tertiary care to heatwave victims, the officials said.
Also, they added, Rescue-1299 had been asked to coordinate with private ambulance services, which are placing their 812 ambulances on disposal of the city administration to be used during the current heatwave.