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Doctors treat thousands of heatstroke victims in southern Pakistan as temperatures soar

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Doctors treat thousands of heatstroke victims in southern Pakistan as temperatures soar
News

News

Doctors treat thousands of heatstroke victims in southern Pakistan as temperatures soar

2024-06-25 22:10 Last Updated At:22:21

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A days-long intense heatwave has disrupted normal life in Pakistan, especially in its largest city, Karachi, where doctors treated thousands of victims of heatstroke at various hospitals, health officials said Tuesday.

Several people fell unconscious in the city and some of them later died, local media said.

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Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of the Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A days-long intense heatwave has disrupted normal life in Pakistan, especially in its largest city, Karachi, where doctors treated thousands of victims of heatstroke at various hospitals, health officials said Tuesday.

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A woman, center, weeps as patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A woman, center, weeps as patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A patient of heatstroke receives treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A patient of heatstroke receives treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Temperatures soared as high as 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) in Sindh province on Tuesday. Authorities in Karachi, the provincial capital, are urging people to stay indoors, hydrate, and avoid unnecessary travel.

Weather forecasters say the heatwave, which began in May, will subside next week.

Currently, Karachi is in the grip of an intense heatwave.

According to local media, the days-long heatwave also killed more than two dozen people in the city, but no government spokesman was available to confirm the heatstroke-related deaths.

On Tuesday, Faisal Edhi, the head of the Edhi Foundation, which runs the country’s largest ambulance service, said they received dozens of bodies of heatstroke victims in Karachi the previous day.

Imran Sarwar Sheikh, the head of the emergency ward at the state-run Civil Hospital in Karachi, told The Associated Press that they treated 120 victims of heatstroke the previous day. Eight of those patients later died, he said.

On Monday, more than 1,500 victims of heatstroke were treated at other hospitals in the city, according to local media.

Sardar Sarfaraz, the chief meteorologist in Karachi, said temperatures will continue to rise this week across Pakistan. “Today, the weather is dry. In such conditions, the temperature starts rising,” he said.

Pakistan's climate is warming much faster than the global average, with a potential rise of 1.3 to 4.9 degrees Celsius (2.3 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2090s over the 1986–2005 baseline, according to a World Bank expert panel on climate change.

The country, which is one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change, also faces the risk of heavier monsoon rains, in part because of its immense northern glaciers, which are now melting as temperatures rise. Warmer air can hold more moisture, intensifying the monsoon.

This year's monsoon will start in July, causing flash floods, according to a statement released by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. The warning from the agency comes less than two weeks after a top U.N. official said an estimated 200,000 people in Pakistan could be affected by the upcoming monsoon season.

However, officials say this year’s monsoon rains would not be as heavy as in 2022 when devastating floods killed 1,739 people, destroyed 2 million homes, and covered as much as one-third of the country at one point.

The 2022 floods caused more than $30 billion in damage to Pakistan’s already cash-strapped economy.

Pakistan says despite contributing less than 1% to carbon emissions worldwide, it is bearing the brunt of global climate disasters.

The ongoing heat in recent months also had a large impact on agriculture in the region, causing crop damage and reduced yields, as well as on education, with school vacations having to be extended and schools closed in several countries, affecting thousands of students.

Climate experts say extreme heat in South Asia during the pre-monsoon season is becoming more frequent. The study found that extreme temperatures are now about 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.5 Fahrenheit) hotter in the region because of climate change, and this year Pakistan witnessed above-normal rains and heat.

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of the Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of the Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A woman, center, weeps as patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A woman, center, weeps as patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A patient of heatstroke receives treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A patient of heatstroke receives treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Various parts of the country continued to experience an intense heat wave conditions, with the temperatures reaching 47 degree Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in Nawabshah and other cities, according to the press release of Pakistan Meteorological Department. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris moved swiftly to lock up Democratic delegates behind her campaign for the White House after President Joe Biden stepped aside amid concerns from within their party that he would be unable to defeat Republican Donald Trump.

Biden's exit Sunday, prompted by Democratic worries over his fitness for office, was a seismic shift to the presidential contest that upended both major political parties' carefully honed plans for the 2024 race.

Aiming to put weeks of intraparty drama over Biden's candidacy behind them, prominent Democratic elected officials, party leaders and political organizations quickly lined up behind Harris in the hours after Biden announced he was dropping his reelection campaign.

Biden's departure frees his delegates to vote for whomever they choose. Harris, whom Biden backed after ending his candidacy, is thus far the only declared candidate and was working to quickly secure endorsements from a majority of delegates.

It's only the first item on a staggering political to-do list for her after Biden's decision to exit the race, which she learned about on a Sunday morning call with the president. If she's successful at locking up the nomination, she must also pick a running mate and pivot a massive political operation to boost her candidacy instead of Biden's with just over 100 days until Election Day.

On Sunday afternoon, Biden’s campaign formally changed its name to Harris for President, reflecting that she is inheriting his political operation of more than 1,000 staffers and a war chest that stood at nearly $96 million at the end of June. It got bigger by Monday morning: Campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt said Harris had raised $49.6 million in donations in the first 15 hours after Biden’s endorsement.

Harris spent much of Sunday surrounded by family and staff, making more than 100 calls to Democratic officials to line up their support for her candidacy, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort. It comes as she tries to move her party past the painful, public wrangling that had defined the weeks since the Biden's disastrous June 27 debate with Trump.

Speaking to party leaders, Harris expressed gratitude for Biden's endorsement but insisted she was looking to earn the nomination in her own right, the person said.

In a sign that the Democratic Party was moving to coalesce behind her, Harris quickly won endorsements from the leadership of several influential caucuses and political organizations, including the AAPI Victory Fund, which focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, The Collective PAC, focused on building Black political power, and the Latino Victory Fund, as well as the chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the entire Congressional Black Caucus. Harris, if elected, would be the first woman and first person of South Asian descent to be president.

Notably, a handful of men who had already been discussed as potential running mates for Harris — Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly — also swiftly issued statements endorsing her. Aides to Shapiro and Cooper confirmed that Harris spoke with them Sunday afternoon. In her brief call with Cooper, the North Carolina governor told Harris he was backing her to be the Democratic nominee, according to Cooper spokeswoman Sadie Weiner.

But former President Barack Obama held off on an immediate endorsement, as some in the party have expressed worry that the quick shift to Harris would appear to be a coronation, instead pledging his support behind the eventual party nominee.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who left the party earlier this year but considered re-registering as a Democrat to vie for the nomination against the vice president, told CBS News on Monday that he would not be a candidate.

Additional endorsements Monday, including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, left a dwindling list of potential rivals to Harris, who was still the only candidate.

Harris was to make her first public appearance Monday morning at the White House, where she is scheduled to speak at an event honoring National Collegiate Athletic Association championship teams. She is filling in for Biden, who is recovering after contracting COVID-19 last week.

Harris, in a statement, praised Biden’s “selfless and patriotic act” in deciding to leave the race and said she intends to “earn and win” her party’s nomination.

“I will do everything in my power to unite the Democratic Party — and unite our nation — to defeat Donald Trump and his extreme Project 2025 agenda,” she said.

Biden planned to discuss his decision to step aside later this week in an address to the nation. He wrote in a letter posted Sunday to his X account, “I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term."

Nearly 30 minutes after he delivered the news that he was folding his campaign, Biden threw his support behind Harris.

“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” he said in another post on X. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump.”

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to be held Aug. 19-22 in Chicago, but the party had announced it would hold a virtual roll call to formally nominate Biden before in-person proceedings begin. The convention's rules committee is scheduled to meet this week to finalize its nomination process and it is unclear how it will be adjusted to reflect Biden's exit.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairwoman Nanette Barragan, who emphasized that she was “all in” behind the vice president, said she spoke Sunday with Harris, who communicated that she preferred to forego a virtual roll call for the nomination process and instead hold a process that adheres to regular order.

The Democratic National Committee’s chair, Jaime Harrison, said in a statement that the party would “undertake a transparent and orderly process” to select “a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump in November.”

Follow the AP's coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

A campaign sign with President Joe Biden's name cut out stands in Northwood, N.H., Sunday, July 21, 2024. Homeowner Tom Chase, 79, said he removed Biden's name last week and was relieved and delighted that the president withdrew from his 2024 campaign and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

A campaign sign with President Joe Biden's name cut out stands in Northwood, N.H., Sunday, July 21, 2024. Homeowner Tom Chase, 79, said he removed Biden's name last week and was relieved and delighted that the president withdrew from his 2024 campaign and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and President Joe Biden arrive for an event in the East Room of the White House, May 9, 2024, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and President Joe Biden arrive for an event in the East Room of the White House, May 9, 2024, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2017, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Vice President Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

FILE - Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2017, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Vice President Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

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