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Dozens dead in Pakistan heat wave

A severe heat wave sweeping Pakistan has claimed dozens of lives. Electricity outages have added to problem, crippling water supply systems in some parts of the country.

Most casualties were reported in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, where temperatures soared to 46 degrees Celsius (115 Fahrenheit) over the weekend.

Reports said Sunday that at least 45 people had died, although some local sources put the death toll as high as 122.

"Since Saturday 114 people have died in Karachi and eight others [have died] in three districts of Sindh," provincial health secretary Saeed Mangnejo told news agency AFP.

Authorities have imposed a state of emergency at all hospitals, canceling leave for medical staff and increasing stocks of supplies, Mangnejo added.

Dr. Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency department at state-run Jinnah Hospital, said more than 100 people had died of heatstroke at the facility since Saturday evening. All the deaths have occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when people fast from dawn to dusk.

Hitzewelle in Pakistan fordert zahlreiche Opfer

Victims of heat exhaustion are brought to Karachi's morgue

Water shortages

The sweltering conditions were compounded by frequent power outages in Karachi - a sprawling metropolis of 20 million inhabitants - sparking protests in some parts. Pakistan's state-run water utility said electricity cuts had also affected the southern port city's water supply system, hampering the delivery of millions of gallons of water to consumers.

Karachi University said in a statement it planned to postpone exams for at least one month due to the extreme temperatures.

More than a dozen people died in other parts of southern Sindh province due to exhaustion, according to rescue worker Meraj Ahmed, who spoke to dpa. Deaths were also reported in central Punjab province.

Heat waves kill thousands of people across South Asia during the summer months every year. The deaths in Pakistan come less than a month after

more than 2,000 people died

in a heat wave in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telagana.

nm/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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