The horrific temperatures have coincided with Ramadan and power outages across the city
STIFLING temperatures in Pakistan have left people collapsing in the streets and begging for water as a 45C heatwave is said to have killed at least 65 people.
The southern city of Karachi has been blasted with the catastrophic heat over Ramadan, when most Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours.
Residents sleep on a building pavement, to escape heat and frequent power outage in their residence area Karachi The temperatures - which yesterday hit 44C - also coincided with frequent power outages in the country's biggest city.
Shocking photos show residents lying outside on pavements in a desperate attempt to escape sweltering indoor temperatures.
Faisal Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation that operates morgues and an ambulance service in Karachi, said the deaths occurred mostly in the poor areas of the city.
He told Reuters: "Sixty-five people have died over the last three days.
Volunteers stand in Edhi morgue in Karachi, after reports that at least 65 people were killed in the heatwave.
A social welfare charity claimed at least 65 people had died in Pakistan's biggest city "We have the bodies in our cold storage facilities and their neighbourhood doctors have said they died of heat-stroke."
The government has not yet confirmed the death toll. Sindh province's Health Secretary Fazlullah Pechuho disputed Edhi's claims. He told English-language Dawn newspaper:
"Only doctors and hospitals can decide whether the cause of death was heat stroke or not.
"I categorically reject that people have died due to heat stroke in Karachi."
Nonetheless, there are fears that there will be a repeat of 2015, when morgues and hospitals were overwhelmed and at least 1,300 mostly elderly and sick people died from the searing heat.
In the same year, the Edhi morgue ran out of freezer space after about 650 bodies were brought in the space of a few days and ambulances left decaying corpses outside in sweltering heat.
The provincial government has assured residents that there would be no repeat of 2015 and was working on ensuring those in need of care receive rapid treatment.
Edhi said most of the dead brought to the morgue were working class factory workers who came from the low-income Landhi and Korangi areas of Karachi.
He said: "They work around heaters and boilers in textile factories and there is eight to nine hours of (scheduled power outages) in these areas."
- Temperatures are expected to stay above 40C until Thursday, local media reported.