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High death toll in heat wave alarming

Pakistan News : The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm over the high death toll amid the prevailing heat wave, especially in Karachi, and called for urgent interventions to prevent further loss of life.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “The high number of fatalities across the country as the temperature has risen is extremely worrying. Searing heat in Pakistan during this time of the year is not entirely unexpected. And yet so many people have died already this year in incidents apparently related to the hot weather.

One is inclined to conclude that nature alone is not to blame for the high death toll, and a failure to adopt preventive measures has also played a part. If drinking water is not available in a city like Karachi, that is a human failure, and a failure of the community as well. The fact that the shade of trees has become scarce in our cities is relevant too.

Environmentalists must ponder the role felling of trees with thick foliage that filtered the breeze and offered shade to both the worker and the wayfarer, or their replacement with leafless plants, has played in making our citizens more vulnerable to nature’s harshness. Much more could have been done to raise awareness among the citizens about the hazards of extended exposure to the elements in the summer and how to cope. The electricity shortage and the related water crisis also seem to have had an impact.

Granted that there is a gap between the electricity supply and demand, but better ways must be devised to manage the shortfall. Something must be done also to arrest the escalating price of essentials, especially in Ramazan, needed for nourishment and hydration.

The authorities must play their part in enhancing consciousness of how to minimise the hazards of exposure to the sun while going about everyday activities.

They must also ensure that people suffering a sunstroke or sudden dehydration take as little time as possible to reach a health facility. In short, a number of responses are in order to prevent further fatalities; shrugging one’s shoulders over this loss of life and laying the blame on fate must not be one of them. Agencies

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