A Pakistani city has set a global record temperature for the month of April, with the mercury rising to more than 50C on Monday (Apr 30), prompting fears that people might leave to escape even higher temperatures when summer sets in.
The southern city of Nawabshah recorded a high of 50.2C on Monday.
“We are worried that the extreme heat started too early this summer, and are planning to migrate to other cities if the situation remains the same,” one city resident, Ismail Domki, said.
The director general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Ghulam Rasool, said: “We have issued forecasts about the extreme heat in Sindh province but were not expecting a world record in the month of April.”
Domki said the official response had been inadequate. “There is no response from the government, at least 24 cases of heatstroke were reported on April 30 and five of them were serious cases with people losing consciousness,” he said, adding that these were just known cases at the government-run hospital.
A report in the Dawn newspaper said the unbearable heat forced people to remain indoors throughout the day. Roads and markets looked deserted and business activities came to a halt. The worst sufferers of heatstroke were labourers and motorcyclists.
Recent summers across the Middle East and south Asia have produced sweltering heat above 50C, melting roads, overwhelming power infrastructure and raising serious questions about the liveability of settlements from Iraq to India.
Last year, Pakistan was ranked among the top 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change. A severe heatwave in the southern port city of Karachi in 2015 left more than 1,200 dead, with more than 40,000 people suffering from heatstroke.