Pakistan – Heatwave

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issued a heatwave alert for much of the country, with particular emphasis on Punjab and Sindh provinces. According to an NDMA announcement on Thursday, heatwave conditions are expected to develop over most regions starting May 21, escalating to severe heatwave conditions between May 23 and May 27. The forecast includes three separate heatwave spells: the initial one lasting two to three days, followed by a second spell towards the end of May lasting four to five days, and a third spell in early June lasting three to five days.

The geographical areas affected include most parts of Pakistan, with a focus on Punjab and Sindh provinces. Specific districts in Sindh, such as Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Badin, and Khairpur, are particularly impacted during the second heatwave spell. Daytime temperatures are expected to remain 4-8°C above normal in these regions, exacerbating the conditions. 

Immediate health risks include heat strokes, heat cramps, and aggravation of existing health conditions, potentially leading to fatalities. The demand for medical services and cooling centers increases significantly.

Establishing heatwave treatment and facilitation centres for communities is essential but beyond their capacity. Given the similar situation across at-risk districts, urgent support from humanitarian organizations is imperative. Immediate requirements include fully-equipped facilitation centres staffed with paramedics for providing first aid treatment. There is also a pressing need for community awareness campaigns to prevent direct sun exposure, dehydration, and the provision of flexible labour hours.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA), in collaboration with district authorities, intends to establish six heatwave centres or camps in Umerkot district for a duration of four months. These facilities include a central site in Umerkot city, three additional camps at health facilities already supported by CWSA projects i.e. Government dispensary Ramsar, Government Dispensary Jhamrari, and Government Dispensary Cheelband and two more location will be identified for heat wave facilitation centres in consultation with district government.

ACT Alert (Pakistan Heatwave Emergency) _ 2024